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Saudi Arabia Says It 'Cannot Be Silent' At Iran, Hizbullah

June 25, 2013


Saudi Arabia's foreign minister says his country views the involvement of Iran and Lebanese Shi'ite militant group Hizballah in Syria's civil war as dangerous.

Prince Saud al-Faisal added that Riyadh "cannot be silent" about Tehran's role in Syria. He was speaking at a joint news conference with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in Jeddah.

Faisal also said that Syrian rebels must be offered military aid and called for measures to stop weapons flows to the Syrian government.

Kerry says that Washington remains convinced that an international conference offers the best chance to bring about a negotiated political settlement.

But Lakhdar Brahimi, the UN and Arab League envoy for Syria, has said that a second peace conference is unlikely to happen soon.

"Frankly, I now doubt whether the conference [on Syria] will take place in July," Brahimi said. "The opposition -- I think their next meeting is on July 4 and 5. So I don't think they will be ready."

Negotiators from the United States and Russia were expected to discuss plans for the conference in Geneva on June 25. The event, planned for July, is aimed at ending the war.

Brahimi urged international unity and cooperation to prevent the Syrian conflict from spiraling into a much bigger disaster.

"What is happening in the region is extremely, extremely serious," he said, "and I very, very much hope that governments in the region and the big powers, particularly the United States and Russia, I'm sure they are aware, that they will act to contain this situation that is getting out of hand."

More than 93,000 people have been killed in the Syrian conflict, which began in March 2011 as a popular protest movement against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.

After a harsh government crackdown and the opposition reverting to armed struggle, the conflict in Syria descended into a civil war with sectarian overtones.

Some 1.7 million Syrians have fled into neighboring countries.

With reporting by Reuters and dpa

Source: http://www.rferl.org/content/saudi-arabia-syria-iran-hizballah/25027691.html

Copyright (c) 2013. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

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