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Saudi calls on Iran to sign a security accord

RIYADH, Oct 26 (AFP) - Saudi Arabia is ready to sign a security cooperation agreement with Iran, Interior Minister Prince Nayef bin Abdul Aziz said, urging Tehran to push ahead with the accord.

"The Saudi kingdom is ready to sign a security agreement with Iran," he told a press conference late Wednesday, and called on Iran "to give a positive response to signing the agreement."

"We are filled with the hope of establishing security cooperation between the Saudi kingdom and Iran," he said after a meeting of the six Persian Gulf Arab monarchies.

A week ago the prince said Tehran "still does not have a full view of what the security agreement could be that should be drawn up between the two countries, that is the reason for the delay," in signing.

Ties between the two major Persian Gulf powers have warmed considerably since the May 1997 election of President Mohammad Khatami, after a long period of hostility following the 1979 Islamic revolution.

The interior ministers of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates ended Wendesday a two-day meeting in Riyadh on "cooperation in the struggle against organised crime, drugs and money laundering," according to an official statement.

The ministers of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) expressed determination to strengthen cooperation over security.

Nayef also called on Kuwait and Qatar to sign up to a GCC security agreement, although he said Qatar intends to sign.

Kuwait wants several amendments to the collective security accord.

On Yemen, Nayef said he would meet Sanaa's Interior Minister Hussein Arab next week to select a company to lay border markers following the agreement in June to draw up the international frontier between the two neighbours, ending a dispute which had dragged on for several decades.


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