Bahrain's foreign minister is calling for Arab countries to form a regional group that includes rivals Iran and Israel.

Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa says the organization could get under way even if not all members recognize each other.

Of the Arab states, only Egypt and Jordan recognize Israel.  Non-Arab Iran is particularly opposed to the Jewish state, with its president vowing to see it end.

In an interview in Wednesday's al-Hayat pan-Arab newspaper, Sheik Khalid says Turkey should also be included in the Middle East grouping.  He argues such a forum is the only way to resolve the region's problems.

The Bahrainian diplomat notes the countries are all able to sit together in the United Nations.

The tiny Gulf kingdom, whose Shi'ite majority is ruled by a Sunni minority, has close ties with the United States and hosts the U.S. Navy's Fifth Fleet.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.