Saudi Gazette report
Riyadh — Saudi Arabia on Saturday said it does not see a “coming together” of Iran and the United States, which is well aware of Tehran’s regional “mischief.”
“No, I don’t see a coming together of the United States and Iran. Iran remains the world’s chief sponsor of terrorism,” Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir said at a joint news conference with US Secretary of State John Kerry.
“Overall I think the United States is very aware of the danger of Iran’s mischief and nefarious activities… I don’t believe the United States is under any illusion as to what type of government Iran is,” he said.
Kerry and Jubeir spoke after they attended a meeting of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).
The top US diplomat said his country “remains concerned about some of the activities that Iran is engaged in in other countries.”
This includes Iran’s “support for terrorist groups like Hezbollah” in Lebanon.
Kerry and Al-Jubeir said the US and the GCC agreed on the need to confront destabilizing Iranian activities in the region and on an “understanding” that will allow the UN-led Syria negotiations to begin next week as planned.
“Let me assure everybody that the relationship between the United States and the GCC nations is one that is built on mutual interest, on mutual defense and I think there is no doubt whatsoever in the minds of the countries that make up the GCC that the United States will stand with them against any external threat,” Kerry said.
Al-Jubeir denounced Iran for its “hostile and aggressive stance” against Arab nations.
Kerry said he was confident Syria peace talks would proceed. “We are confident that with good initiative in the next day or so those talks can get going and that the UN representative special envoy, Staffan De Mistura, will be convening people in an appropriate manner for the proximity talks that will be the first meeting in Geneva,” he told reporters.
Kerry said major countries would convene after the first round of negotiations.
“I won’t announce a date, but we all agreed that immediately after completion of the first round of the Syria discussions, the International Syria Support Group will convene, and that will be very shortly, because we want to keep the process moving,” he said.
“None of us are under any illusions that obstacles don’t still exist to trying to seek a political settlement in Syria,” Kerry said. “We know its tough. If it were easy, it would have happened a long time ago.”
Al-Jubeir said his country was working with the US to find ways to remove Assad from power. “We work with our American friends on ways to remove Bashar Al-Assad from Syria and move the country toward a better future,” he said.
Kerry said the lifting of sanctions presented an opportunity to work together with Iran to address some of the worries Saudi Arabia and other countries had.
“Now we have the ability to begin to work together to address the concerns that Saudi Arabia and other countries have and that we have,” he said.