Syria denies vice president criticized Saudis

Syria said Saturday that recent comments by the country's vice president reputedly criticizing Saudi Arabia were misreported, an attempt to quell growing tension over the remarks. Saudi Arabia lashed out at Syria on Thursday after Vice President Farouk al-Sharaa reportedly said the kingdom - the Mideast's key Sunni power player - had become semi-paralyzed and was to blame for Palestinian infighting. But Syria's official SANA news agency quoted an unnamed official Saturday as denying al-Sharaa criticized Saudi Arabia. Instead, he stressed his country's desire to heal the rift with Riyadh. "The brotherhood between the Syrian and Saudi people is a real one that has withstood different crises ... and Syria is aimed at reviving Arab solidarity and strengthening it to serve the national and pan-Arab interest," the official was quoted as saying.