UPDATE 1-Saudi minister plays down policy differences with US

Mon Nov 4, 2013 10:03am EST

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RIYADH Nov 4 (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia's foreign minister said on Monday the kingdom's recent policy differences with the United States were mostly on tactics rather than on goals, and such disagreements were a normal part of relations between any two countries.

Referring to Syria, Prince Saud al-Faisal added that the kingdom realised the importance of talks as a means of ending conflict, but such discussions could not go on indefinitely.

The minister was speaking at a joint news conference with his U.S. counterpart John Kerry, who is visiting Saudi Arabia on the latest stop on a tour partly aimed at defusing tensions with Arab powers.

"(U.S.-Saudi) relations have always been based on independence and respect and based on serving mutual interests," Prince Saud said.

"Difference is a normal matter and we seek to mend it through communication between the two nations."

In an opening statement to the news conference, the prince added in a passage on Syria's war that his country realised the importance of negotiations for solving crises.

"But we, at the same time, realize that negotiations should not go on indefinitely, especially that tremendous tasks are ahead of us and they need decisive intervention."

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