Senior officials in Saudi Arabia say they are trying to mediate a peace deal between Washington and Baghdad and have sent a peace proposal to both capitals.

Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal said the kingdom drew up the peace proposal because, he said, "the issue is too important to leave it to just the gods of war to determine when the war will end."

During a news conference in Riyadh, the foreign minister suggested both sides in the U.S.-led war against Iraq could stop fighting and, as he said, take a breather to see what diplomacy can accomplish.

While he did not describe the proposal, Saudi Arabia, several weeks ago, quietly circulated the idea that Saddam Hussein should go into exile with offers of amnesty to other members of the Iraqi leader's regime.

The foreign minister says a continuing war would only lead to intense anger in the region and create hatreds that might last for a long time.

He said the peace proposal was made to both Baghdad and Washington and the kingdom is waiting for a response. The foreign minister said Saudi Arabia would be knocking on all doors in an effort to bring peace.