Monday, May 7, 2007

Cheney Heads to the Middle East

US Vice President Dick Cheney heads tomorrow to the Middle East. Cheney will visit the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan and is expected to enlist their help to counter Iran's growing influence in the region.

The US-Saudi alliance may particularly prove critical amid mounting tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran. A number of Middle East analysts believe Iran-Saudi struggle for influence in Iraq and Lebanon is rapidly deteriorating into a proxy war.

The Vice President also will meet with US military commanders in the Persian Gulf and visit the troops stationed there. The US Navy announced today that it will keep two aircraft carriers in the Persian Gulf amid tensions with Iran.

An aide to Cheney told reporters in Washington today that the US and the Europeans also are considering a third UN Security Council resolution against Iran for refusing to suspend its uranium enrichment program.

Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said today that suspension is not in Iran’s agenda. Mottaki was referring to a proposal put forward by Switzerland for simultaneous suspension of Iran’s uranium enrichment activities and of UN sanctions.

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