Last Updated: Tue May 15, 2012 07:20 am (KSA) 04:20 am (GMT)

Saudi Arabia says Syria peace plan faltering, Iran should keep out of affairs with Bahrain

Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal has said nothing in Syria has been accomplished though he admitted that the violence has lessened. (Reuters)
Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal has said nothing in Syria has been accomplished though he admitted that the violence has lessened. (Reuters)

Saudi Arabia said on Monday the confidence in international mediator Kofi Annan’s peace efforts in Syria is diminishing due to continued violence in the country and asked Iran to keep out of the kingdom’s relations with Bahrain.

“The violence is still continuing, the bloodshed is still continuing. Nothing has been accomplished except the violence has lessened. The violence continues... nobody is satisfied,” Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal told reporters at a news conference in Riyadh after a meeting of Gulf Arab leaders.

“Confidence in the efforts of the envoy of the United Nations and the Arab League has started to decrease quickly,” he added.

A U.N. mediated ceasefire was supposed to take effect on April 12 but it is being broken every day.

The regime blames the daily violence on “armed gangs” and “terrorists” it says are supported by other countries. The opposition, however, argues that the regime is the party responsible for the bloodshed since the first day when peaceful protests erupted in the country.

Saudi Arabia and other Arab Gulf countries have voiced support for the Syrian opposition, while Iran has stood by the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.

In his statements, Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal asked Iran to keep out of the kingdom’s relations with Bahrain, in which the Shiite opposition is supported by Tehran.

“Iran has nothing to do with what happens between the two countries, even if it develops into a unity,” al-Faisal said.

GCC leaders agreed to allow time for further discussions over the proposed Gulf union, Saud said.

Iranian MPs earlier on Monday condemned the planned union between Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.

“The Iranian threat is not accepted,” Prince Saud said, after a letter signed by 190 MPs warned Bahraini and Saudi rulers “they must understand that this unwise decision will only strengthen the Bahraini people’s resolve against the forces of occupation.”

Saudi-led Gulf forces rolled into Bahrain in March 2011 to boost the kingdom’s security forces which a day later crushed month-old, Shiite-dominated protests.

The letter, read out in the 290-member parliament, warned that “the crisis in Bahrain will be transferred to Saudi Arabia and will push the region towards insecurity.”

Shiite-dominated Iran has repeatedly voiced support for the protests in Bahrain and strongly condemned the deployment of Saudi-led forces.

The GCC was formed in 1981 as the Sunni-dominated monarchies of the Gulf aimed to bolster security after the 1979 Islamic revolution in Iran that was followed by an eight-year war between Baghdad and Tehran.

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