Saudi's FM Calls for Nuke-free Middle East

NEW YORK - Saudi Arabia's foreign minister, Prince Saud al-Faisal, called for a nuclear-free Middle East in an interview with Newsweek that appears on the newsstands today.

"We want our region to be free of nuclear threat, the prince said. "Iran is always mentioned, but no one mentions Israel, which has [nuclear] weapons already. "We wish the international community would enforce the movement to make the Middle East a nuclear-free zone."

Asked to comment on relations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, the prince said Saudi Arabia is monitoring the situation, "and we are full of hope."

On whether Saudi Arabia would be prepared to establish ties with Israel, the prince said: "If total peace is made and every Arab state signs a peace agreement, we will also."

He said that media sources were incorrect in describing U.S.-Saudi Arabia relations as those of enmity. "The relationship with the government of the United States is healthy. ... We are gradually reaching the level of comfort and warmth we enjoyed before [September 11, 2001]."