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Iran Confirms Ahmadinejad To Visit Saudi Arabia

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An Iranian diplomat has confirmed reports that Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad will travel to Saudi Arabia on March 3 for talks on regional issues and bilateral ties.

Iran's ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Mohammad Hosseini, is quoted by Iran's official news agency, IRNA, as saying that during the one-day official trip, Ahmadinejad will meet with King Abdullah and other Saudi officials.

The two-day visit comes at a time of political crisis in Lebanon, continued sectarian violence in Iraq and also increased international pressure on Iran over its nuclear program.

The Saudi-Iranian meeting also comes against a backdrop of reports suggesting that Sunni-led governments -- including Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Jordan -- are eager to forestall purported efforts by Iran's Shi'ite government to increase its influence in the region.

Saudi Arabia will host a summit of the Arab League in late March.

Copyright (c) 2006. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

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