Saudi leadership condoles Russia over victims of two suicide bombing attacks

Saudi Arabia stresses commitment to disarmament principles

Allawi condemns Iranian interference in Iraq govt. lineup

UN representative in Iraq says his role is advisory

G8 ministers appeal to international community for tough stance regarding Iranian nukes

Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, has telephoned both Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and his Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, during which the King expressed condemnation and disapproval of the heinous terrorist attack which struck Moscow metro on Monday.

In his own name and on behalf of the people and government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the King expressed deep condolences to the friendly Russian people and the families of the victims, wishing quick recovery of the wounded and injured, expressing the Kingdom's readiness to present all possible help in this regard.

The Russian president and his premier thanked the king and the Saudi people for this noble position, highlighting the deep-rooted friendship binding the two countries.

Crown Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Deputy Premier, Minister of Defense and Aviation and Inspector General, has sent a cable of condolences to Russia's President Dmitry Medvedev on the victims of terrorist incidents that took place at metro tunnels stations in Russia and resulted in killing and injuring persons.

The Crown Prince said in his cable, ' We express our strong condemnation of these criminal and terrorist acts and we offer our deepest condolences and sympathy to Your Excellency, the families of the victims and the friendly people of Russia.'

In New York, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has emphasized its full commitment to the principles of disarmament set by the international community.

Addressing a session of United Nations Disarmament Commission on Tuesday, the Kingdom's Permanent Representative to the United Nations Ambassador Khalid bin Abdulrazzaq Al-Nafisi, said that the Kingdom has joined a number of major conventions and treaties in the field of disarmament and it has been one among the first signatories to the Convention of Prohibition of Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons, Convention of Prohibition of Use of Biological Weapons, Treaty of Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement with International Atomic Energy Agency and Protocol of Small Quantities.

He pointed out that turning a blind eye for decades on Israeli nuclear program which is continuing in the production of weapons of mass destruction, constitutes a mistake in stimulating some countries to move forward in developing their nuclear capabilities on the pretext of double-standards to justify their non-compliance with the resolutions of international legitimacy in this area.

Ambassador Al-Nafisi called for declaring the Middle East including Arab Gulf Region free from all weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons, without any exceptions.

'While the Kingdom supports the rights of all states to the peaceful use of nuclear energy, including the right of access to peaceful nuclear knowledge and technology, it calls on all parties to adhere to the track of negotiations and peaceful solutions, ' he said.

The Ambassador said that the Kingdom calls upon all parties to adhere to the peaceful solution for the Iranian nuclear issue and stresses the importance of cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency in this area, especially as Iran always announces that its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes.

Meanwhile, Former Iraqi premier Iyad Allawi accused neighboring Iran on Tuesday of seeking to prevent him becoming prime minister again, after his bloc emerged strongest from national elections.

Tehran was interfering in the election process in Iraq, where his Iraqiya bloc won 91 seats in the 325-member Council of Representatives, two more than Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's State of Law Alliance, he told the BBC.

"Iran is interfering quite heavily and this is worrying," Allawi told the British broadcaster, accusing the Islamic republic of inviting all the major parties to Tehran apart from his bloc.

"They have invited everybody -- but they haven't invited us -- to Tehran," he said.

Asked directly whether Iran wanted to stop him becoming prime minister, Allawi responded: "I think so, they made it very clear... that they have a red line.

"We are concerned about respecting the will of the Iraqi people."

Neither Iraqiya nor State of Law clinched an overall parliamentary majority and a protracted period of coalition building, which could take months, is now expected.

Senior figures from State of Law and other major Iraqi parties have visited Tehran since the March 7 parliamentary election -- but no official from Iraqiya is known to have traveled to the Iranian capital.

Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, who heads one of the autonomous Kurdish region's two long-dominant blocs, and Shiite Vice President Adel Abdulmahdi, a member of the Iraqi National Alliance (INA), both visited Tehran over the weekend to mark Nowruz, the Iranian and Kurdish New Year.

The INA is a coalition led by Shiite religious groups, including the movement loyal to radical cleric Moqtada al-Sadr.

Since Talabani and Abdulmahdi's visit, senior officials from Maliki's State of Law, the Sadrist movement, and the Supreme Iraqi Islamic Council, a Shiite religious group that is also part of the INA, have visited the Iranian capital.

Allawi's comments came as the US ambassador to Iraq voiced confidence that al-Maliki would abide by the law despite his mounting criticism of what he alleges is election fraud.

Ambassador Christopher Hill downplayed suggestions the political row following the election could descend into violence.

The UN Security Council urged Iraq’s political parties Wednesday to respect results of the country’s general elections and called on their leaders to refrain from inflammatory actions.

A non-binding statement issued by Gabon’s UN envoy Emmanuel Issoze-Ngondet on behalf of the 15-member council urged the parties “to respect the certified election results and the choices of the Iraqi people.”

Council members also called on Iraq’s political leaders “to avoid inflammatory rhetoric and actions,” according to Issoze-Ngondet, who chairs the council this month.

The members congratulated the Iraqi people and government on the successful March 7 polls and said they looked forward to the certification by the Supreme Court of the results announced last week.

Little progress has been made in forming a coalition government in the more than three weeks since the election, while negotiations between its main blocs have revealed key differences between the parties.

Hopes for rapid results have dimmed as ex-premier Iyad Allawi’s slim lead — his bloc won 91 parliamentary seats, two more than Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s — has failed to give him a commanding negotiating position.

Council members said they took note of the findings of international and independent Iraqi observers “who affirmed their confidence in the overall integrity of the election.”

They also looked forward to the formation of the new government in a spirit of cooperation and respect for national unity.

Last week, UN special representative to Iraq Ad Melkert described the polls as “credible” after the country’s Independent High Electoral Commission said there was no evidence of systematic or widespread fraud in the counting of ballots.

G8 foreign ministers say they are taking a firm stance with Iran, but cannot impose sanctions to force the country to discontinue its nuclear ambitions.

The ministers, who gathered in Gatineau, Que., on Tuesday to discuss global security concerns, said the UN Security Council is the proper body to consider additional sanctions against Iran, not the G8. The ministers said their intention was never to draft a sanction statement.

Western nations have been pushing for the UN to pursue a fourth round of sanctions, accusing Iran of trying to develop nuclear weapons. But Iran insists its nuclear ambitions are peaceful.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the G8 ministers' talks on Iran were solely informational.

"We exchanged views, discussed the importance of the international community addressing the threat posed by a nuclear-armed Iran. And I, for one, was very satisfied by the results of that conversation," she told reporters at the conclusion of the meeting on Tuesday.

"But I think it's important to underscore that the negotiating forum that we are all focused on is the United Nations Security Council. Some of us are members, others of us are not, but all of us share a concern on behalf of the international community.

"We have a lot of work to do in the UN. We're making slow but steady progress … So I came away heartened by the understanding and support of the G8 countries."

She said while she believes progress is being made, she has little hope Iran will change its course. She said her government has tried to reach out to Iran to discuss its nuclear program but has had little success.

"Unfortunately, there hasn't been the response forthcoming that would create the atmosphere in which we could actually discuss these matter with Iranian counterparts."

Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon, who hosted Tuesday's meeting, said the G8 takes Iran seriously and considers the country's nuclear program "of very great concern to us all."

"Iran's actions raise serious doubts about the peaceful intention of their nuclear program and we agree to remain open to dialogue, but also agree that it's time to take appropriate steps to persuade Iran to end nuclear activities and return to the table," he said.

The ministers also expressed hope that non-G8 members, like China, would support their goals for Iran.