Saudis: We 'cannot be silent' in face of Iran

By REUTERS
June 25, 2013 15:58

Mediator Brahimi says Syria talks unlikely to occur in July; Hezbollah involvement in Syria civil war "dangerous."

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US Secretary of State Kerry greeted by Saudi Arabia's FM Prince Saud al-Faisal, June 25, 2013.

US Secretary of State Kerry greeted by Saudi Arabia's FM 370. (photo credit:Reuters)

JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia - Saudi Arabia regards the involvement of Iran and Hezbollah in Syria's civil war as dangerous and believes the rebels must be offered military aid to defend themselves, the kingdom's foreign minister said on Tuesday.

Speaking at a news conference with US Secretary John Kerry in Jeddah, Prince Saud al-Faisal added that Saudi Arabia "cannot be silent" about Iranian intervention and called for a resolution to ban arms flows to the Syrian government.

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"The kingdom calls for issuing an unequivocal international resolution to halt the provision of arms to the Syrian regime and states the illegitimacy of the regime," Prince Saud said.

More than 93,000 people have been killed in the Syrian conflict, which began as a popular protest movement against Syrian President Bashar Assad but has descended into a civil war with sectarian overtones.

Nearly 1.7 million refugees have fled into neighboring countries, including Lebanon, where clashes between armed groups supporting opposing sides in Syria have fueled fears of a lapse back into sectarian civil war. 

Syria's foreign minister said on Monday that a decision by Western and Arab countries to arm the rebels posed a danger to peace talks and would prolong the two-year conflict.

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International mediator Lakhdar Brahimi said on Tuesday that a conference on ending the war in Syria was unlikely to take place in July as he had hoped, and called on the United States and Russia to help contain the conflict.

Brahimi was speaking to reporters in Geneva before holding talks with senior US and Russian officials. He said he expected these to be "constructive" but unlikely to resolve all questions linked to convening a conference on Syria's future. 


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