Saudi says its security targeted, urges Gulf unity

Reuters News
Posted: Dec 19, 2011 12:29 PM
Saudi says its security targeted, urges Gulf unity

RIYADH (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah said on Monday the security of his country and that of his Arab neighbors was being targeted, in an apparent reference to regional rival Iran, and called for Gulf Arab states to close ranks in a "single entity."

"No doubt you all know that we are targeted in our safety and security. That is why we have to take responsibility," he said, addressing the opening session of the six-member Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) in the Saudi capital Riyadh.

The world's top oil exporter has accused Iran of backing an alleged plot uncovered in October by the United States to assassinate the Saudi ambassador in Washington.

That month its Interior Ministry also blamed an unnamed foreign power for instigating a violent attack on a police station by members of the kingdom's Shi'ite minority.

Iran has denied the charges.

King Abdullah also suggested that the GCC needed to adapt to the new circumstances in the Middle East following the uprisings that swept some Arab countries earlier this year.

"We learnt from history and experience not to stand still when faced with our reality," the king said.

"Whoever does that will end up at the back of the caravan trail and will be lost... That is something we will not accept for the sake of our countries, our people, our stability and our security. That is why I ask of you today to move beyond the stage of cooperation and into the stage of unity in a single entity," he added.

(Reporting By Angus McDowall and Asma Alsharif; editing by Sami Aboudi)