Saudi Arabia brokering peace in subcontinent

Posted in Broader Middle East | 20-Apr-06 | Source: dawn.com (Pakistan)

Saudi Crown Prince Sultan Bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, left, is greeted by Pakistan President Gen. Pervez Musharraf, right, upon his arrival at the airport in Islamabad, Pakistan on Saturday, April 15, 2006.

RIYADH, April 19: Saudi Arabia was brokering peace between Pakistan and India, Crown Prince Sultan bin Abdul Aziz told the press here on Tuesday evening after his return from a tour of Asia, which also took him to Pakistan earlier this week.

“Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah had set in motion the efforts to mediate between India and Pakistan. We hope that he will succeed in his efforts,” the crown prince told Saudi editors and other journalists who accompanied him on the Asian tour.

Saudi Arabia is striving to reinforce security and stability in the Indian subcontinent by brokering peace between the two nuclear armed neighbours, the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) quoted Prince Sultan as saying.

It is believed here that the Saudi initiative also has the backing of the United States. In fact, Washington welcomed the decision of the Saudi monarch to visit India after a lapse of five decades. While the Saudi delegation in New Delhi late January this year definitely tried to assure them of regular crude supplies and to take care of their growing energy needs, the Saudi also prodded them towards peace with Islamabad. Diplomatic circles feel this development took place in the full knowledge, and ‘perhaps the blessings’ of Washington. Some say Washington may have nudged King Abdullah to take the initiative and use the ‘crude forcer’ to obtain the objective.

The crown prince in his meeting with the press here also categorically stated that Saudi Arabia was not seeking nuclear weapons. He also advised Tehran to distance itself from such controversial issues and proceed in a manner beneficial to the country.

In recent days, there have been accusations in the Western press that Saudi Arabia with the help of friends, such as Pakistan, was trying to develop a nuclear programme and that it could not keep away from it in the wake of recent regional developments.

However, Prince Sultan refused to criticise Tehran for recent developments and categorically said, “It is also not in our interest to take a position against Iran while Israel possesses similar weapons. We are against nuclear weapons and its proliferation. It is enough that big powers have them (nuclear capability) to protect the world and defend themselves.”

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