Six Persian Gulf nations discuss Iran nuclear standoff at the meeting

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The diplomats in Riyadh said the also would examine instability in Iraq and the situation in the Palestinian territories.

A Gulf Cooperation Consil statement said during its “consultative” summit the leaders would tackle recent developments in the region. Council Secretary General Abdel Rahamn al-Attia discussed the agenda with Saudi foreign minister Saudi al-Faisal, but the official Saudi news agency account gave no further details.

Members of the Gulf Cooperation Council, a loose military and political alliance, are increasingly nervous about Iran’s disputed nuclear program. Iran is just across the Gulf from council member countries.

In December, during a GCC summit, the foreign minister of the United Arab Emirates voiced concern about the Iranian program. Local commentators have also warned the Gulf states against maintaining “silence” over the issue.

“There will be no peace and security in the region without implementing the Gulf and Arab demand to make the whole Middle East free of weapons of mass destruction and specially nuclear weapons,” the Saudi newspaper Al Madina said in its Saturday edition.

The summit “represents an important message at a very crucial time whether regarding Iran’s crisis with the west over its nuclear file or the situations in Iraq andPalestine,” wrote Al Yawm, another Saudi newspaper.

The diplomats said besides Iran’s nuclear conflict, the Gulf leaders are expected to review the situation in Iraq after a new leadership has been elected. Some of the Gulf nations, which are predominantly Sunni Muslim, have expressed concern about a Shiite-dominated government in Baghdad closely tied to Shiite Iran.

They said the leaders also wanted to look for ways to get money to the newly elected Palestinian government after Western powers such as the United States and European Union cut direct funding to the Authority because the Hamas-led refuses to recognize Israel and renounce violence. This has caused widespread hardship in the Palestinian territories where the government is the largest employer. Salaries for March and April have not been paid.



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