Minister of Foreign Affairs Prince Saud Al-Faisal has said that Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) nations are willing to establish a body to provide enriched uranium to Iran, the Arab News reported today. The GCC’s move aims to defuse the standoff between Iran and the West over Tehran’s nuclear program.
Prince Saud made the remarks in an interview with the London-based Middle East Economic Digest yesterday at the end of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah’s state visit to Britain.
The GCC plan envisions building a plant in a neutral country, such as Switzerland, that would provide enriched uranium to Middle Eastern countries as needed. It would also ensure that none of the enriched uranium would be used for weapons of mass destruction, Prince Saud said.
“We have proposed a solution, which is to create a consortium for all users of enriched uranium in the Middle East,” Prince Saud said, as quoted in the Arab News. “The US is not involved, but I don’t think it (would be) hostile to this, and it would resolve a main area of tension between the West and Iran.”
The Saudi foreign minister said that Iran is considering the offer. “We hope the Iranians will accept this proposal. We continue to talk to them and urge them not only to look at the issue from the perspective of the needs of Iran for energy, but also in the interests of the security of the region,” he said.
In a press conference in London yesterday, Prince Saud said that King Abdullah’s visit to Britain was within the framework of efforts to boost bilateral relations in all areas.
Prince Saud highlighted Saudi Arabia’s counterterrorism efforts but warned that it would take time to eradicate terrorism. He also stressed the importance of establishing an international counterterrorism center.
Turning to Iraq, Prince Saud said that there was an international consensus to safeguard Iraq’s unity, security and independence. He also warned against dividing the country along ethnic lines.
Prince Saud reiterated the importance of finding a solution to the core issues in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict at this month’s peace conference in the United States.