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Last Updated: Monday, 3 December 2007, 15:22 GMT
Iran proposes Gulf security pact
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia
Ahmadinejad got a warm welcome but no response to his offer
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has told Gulf Arab leaders that Iran wants economic and security pacts with the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC).

Mr Ahmadinejad was speaking in Qatar, where he is attending a GCC summit - the first Iranian president to do so.

A BBC analyst says Mr Ahmadinejad is trying to woo the Gulf states to reduce the risk of a military confrontation with the West over its nuclear plans.

The six GCC states are Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the UAE.

"We are proposing the conclusion of a security agreement," Mr Ahmadinejad told the opening session of the summit.

"We want peace and security... based on justice and without foreign intervention."

He also proposed forming an organisation to improve economic co-operation and working towards a trade agreement.

Balancing act

Mr Ahmadinejad made no direct mention of Iran's controversial nuclear programme.

Western powers suspect Iran of enriching uranium to build a nuclear weapons capability. Iran says its nuclear programme is intended solely for energy generation.

The UN Security Council has imposed sanctions on Iran in an attempt to stop it enriching uranium.

BBC Arab Affairs analyst Magdi Abdelhadi, says the summit is a difficult balancing act for the Arab Gulf leaders and an equally difficult task for the Iranian president.

Gulf states rely on the US for their security and several of them host huge American military bases. But at the same time they do not want to alienate their powerful Iranian neighbour.

Equally, Mr Ahmadinejad is trying to woo the support of his Arab neighbours to avert the risk of a military confrontation with the West.

The leaders of the GCC would like to see a peaceful resolution of US-Iranian tension. They fear that that any military conflagration could have a devastating impact on the entire region.

There has been no formal response to Mr Ahmandinejad's proposal from the GGC.

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