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UPDATE 1-In U.N. debut, Saudi king calls for comprehensive solution on Iran

Wed, 23rd Sep 2020 15:38

(Adds details)

NEW YORK, Sept 23 (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin
Abdulaziz on Wednesday called for a comprehensive solution on
Iran and disarming its affiliate Hezbollah in Lebanon, and
expressed support for U.S. efforts to start talks between Israel
and the Palestinians during his first address to the United
Nations General Assembly.

He said Iran has exploited a 2015 nuclear deal with world
powers "to intensify its expansionist activities, create its
terrorist networks, and use terrorism," adding that this had
produced nothing but "chaos, extremism, and sectarianism."

"A comprehensive solution and a firm international position
are required," he told the 193-member General Assembly in a
video statement, prerecorded due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The United States quit the Iran nuclear pact in 2018 with
President Donald Trump dubbing it the "worst deal ever."
Washington has since imposed unilateral sanctions and asserts
that all countries also have to reinstate U.N. sanctions in an
attempt to push the Islamic Republic to negotiate a new deal.

But all the remaining parties to the nuclear deal, including
longtime U.S. allies, and 13 of the 15 U.N. Security Council
members say the U.S. claim on U.N. sanctions is void and
diplomats say few countries are likely to reimpose the measures.

"Our experience with the Iranian regime has taught us that
partial solutions and appeasement did not stop its threats to
international peace and security," King Salman said.

On attempts to mediate peace between Israel and the
Palestinians, the Saudi monarch said a 2002 Arab peace
initiative is the basis for a "comprehensive and just solution"
ensuring the Palestinians obtain an independent state with East
Jerusalem as its capital.

"We support the efforts of the current U.S. administration
to achieve peace in the Middle East by bringing the
Palestinians and the Israelis to the negotiation table to reach
a fair and comprehensive agreement," he said.

The king stopped short of endorsing recent U.S.-brokered
agreements by the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain to establish
ties with Israel. Saudi Arabia has quietly acquiesced to the
deals but has signaled it is not ready to take action itself.

Palestinian leaders have condemned the UAE and Bahrain's
warming of relations with Israel, describing it as a betrayal of
their efforts to win statehood in the occupied West Bank and
Gaza Strip.

King Salman also said a deadly blast in Lebanon’s Beirut
port last month “occurred as a result of the hegemony of
Hezbollah ... over the decision-making process in Lebanon by
force of arms.”

“This terrorist organization must be disarmed,” he said.

Authorities have blamed the Aug. 4 blast on a huge stockpile
of ammonium nitrate stored for years at the port without safety
(Reporting by Michelle Nichols, Marwa Rashad, Ghaida Ghantous,
David Brunnstrom and Matt Spetalnick; editing by Jonathan Oatis)

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