Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Saudi Arabia and Iran cooperating to try to ease crises in Iraq, Lebanon, Saudi FM says

(AP) Saudi Arabia and Iran are working together to try to calm the crises in Iraq and Lebanon, the Saudi foreign minister said Tuesday, despite Washington's efforts to isolate Tehran and limit its influence in the Middle East. The mediation is an unusual step by two rivals, Saudi Arabia and Iran, that compete for regional influence.

President Bush has rejected calls that the United States win Iran's help in easing Iraq's

bloodshed and resolve the political crisis in Lebanon that erupted into violence last week. Instead, he has vowed to break what he called Iranian support for militants in both countries.

Saudi Arabia's willingness to work with Iran likely indicates the growing alarm in the kingdom's leadership over the two simultaneous crises, which have inflamed Sunni- Shiite tensions throughout the Middle East.

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