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Iran's Foreign Minister: Regional situation, extremely grave

Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi termed the regional situation as "extremely grave" given the ultimatum to Iraq by US president putting an end to diplomatic means to disarm Iraq, IRNA reported from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, on Tuesday.

Speaking in a press conference with his Saudi counterpart Prince Saud al-Faisal as-Saud he said, "We have been striving to find a solution to avert a war and all of our consultations have been aimed at this end.

"We are deeply concerned about a war's devastating effect throughout the region," the Iranian foreign minister said adding "Iran and Saudi Arabia share the concern of the Iraqi neighboring countries in this respect."

Saudi minister also voiced concern on the looming US attack on Iraq and stressed the need for finding a peaceful resolution to the crisis.

"A war will have destructive effect on the region and we should try to find a peaceful settlement to the crisis," Prince Faisal said, but at the samt time, conceded that "a war seems to be imminent."

Earlier on Tuesday, the two officials in a meeting, expressed regret over the failure of diplomacy and logic in resolving the crisis and underlined the need to hold consultation among regional countries to reduce to minimum the damages which may be inflicted on regional countries.

It was expected that a collective wisdom and logic would prevail to put an end to the crisis, but unfortunately the region is on the verge of a war, Kharrazi said.

"What is happening in the region is to safeguard the interests of Israel," he said adding, "Unfortunately the gap between the Islamic countries is so wide and the Iraqi regime is responsible for this by sowing the seed of discord among Islamic states through imposing a war on Iran.

"We should overcome this disunity," he said adding that the damages of this conflict should be reduced to a minimum.

Iran has declared that is ready to welcome international relief organizations and help transfer their donations and services to the needy people in Iraq and help set up required camps.

The Saudi foreign minister, for his part, attached importance to exchange of views with Iran adding that the countries in the region should cooperate and employ all their political capabilities to avert war and its damages.

... Payvand News - 3/19/03 ... --

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