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Iran & Saudi berjanji setiakawan

Iran and Saudi pledge friendship

March 3 - The leaders of Iran and Saudi Arabia have agreed o fight the spread of sectarian strife between Sunnis and Shias in Iraq and elsewhere in the Middle East.

Saudi's King Abdullah and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad also discussed the war in Iraq in their first ever face-to-face meeting on Saturday.

(Picture - President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran and Saudi's King Abdullah compete to lead the Muslim world)

Sunni Saudi Arabia and Shi'ite Iran are among the most influential nations of their respective branches of Islam.

"The two parties have agreed to stop any attempt aimed at spreading sectarian strife in the region," Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal told reporters without elaborating.

Saudi Arabia has led a diplomatic drive in recent months to counterbalance what is regarded as Iran's growing influence in Iraq, Lebanon and the Palestinian Territories.

While Saudi Arabia is a key US ally in the Middle East, Iran is a fierce opponent of Western influence in the region.

Nuclear challenge

The United States and its regional allies, including Israel and Saudi Arabia, suspect Iran's nuclear energy programme aims to develop weapons, an accusation Tehran denies.

Saudi official, speaking before Saturday's meeting, said the kingdom would try to convince Tehran to comply with UN resolutions and suspend enrichment.

Iranian state radio said talks would also cover "Iran's nuclear case".

Saudi Arabia, Iran and Syria have accepted Iraq's invitation to a regional conference in March on easing tensions in Iraq. Agencies

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