Top Iranian, Saudi envoys meet in China, discuss diplomatic ties

  • Iran, Saudi Arabia high envoys meet in Beijing
  • Regional rivals agree to revive diplomatic ties
  • Tehran says the assembly was “good, forward-looking”
  • Technical delegations will look at methods for additional cooperation

BEIJING/RIYADH, April 6 (Reuters) – The overseas ministers of Iran and Saudi Arabia met in Beijing on Thursday for the primary formal assembly of their high diplomats in greater than seven years, after China brokered a deal to revive ties between the regional rivals.

After years of hostility that fuelled conflicts throughout the Middle East, Iran and Saudi Arabia agreed to finish their diplomatic rift and re-open embassies in a significant deal facilitated by China final month.

In temporary footage broadcast on Iranian state TV, Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud and his Iranian counterpart, Hossein Amirabdollahian, greeted one another earlier than sitting down aspect by aspect.

The two nations mentioned in a joint assertion they might launch preparations to reopen embassies and consulates inside the two-month interval stipulated in the deal final month.

“The technical teams will continue coordination to examine the ways of expanding cooperation including the resumption of flights and bilateral visits of official and private sector delegations and facilitating the granting of visas for the citizens of the two countries,” they mentioned.

In March, China’s President Xi Jinping helped dealer the shock deal between the rivals to finish a seven-year rift and restore diplomatic ties – a show of China’s rising affect in the area.

That month, Xi spoke by phone with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud about a number of points.

Iranian Foreign Minister Amirabdollahian mentioned the Thursday assembly along with his Saudi counterpart was “good and forward-looking”, based on Iranian state TV.

China’s function in the breakthrough shook up dynamics in the Middle East, the place the United States has for many years been the principle mediator.

Saudi Arabia lower ties with Iran in 2016 after its embassy in Tehran was stormed throughout a dispute between the 2 nations over Riyadh’s execution of a Shi’ite Muslim cleric.

The kingdom then requested Iranian diplomats to go away inside 48 hours whereas it evacuated its embassy employees from Tehran.

The relationship started worsening a yr earlier, after Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates intervened in the Yemen battle, the place the Iran-aligned Houthi motion ousted a Saudi-backed authorities and took over the capital, Sanaa.

For Saudi Arabia, the rapprochement might imply improved safety. The kingdom has blamed Iran for arming the Houthis, who carried out missile and drone assaults on Saudi Arabian cities and oil services.

In 2019, Riyadh blamed an assault on Aramco oil services, which knocked out half of its oil output, immediately on the Islamic Republic. Iran denied these accusations.

Reporting by Hatem Maher and Enas Alashray, Aziz El Yaakoubi in Riyadh, Parisa Hafezi in Dubai and Liz Lee in Beijing
Writing by Hatem Maher, Michael Georgy and Parisa Hafezi; Editing by Clarence Fernandez and Gerry Doyle

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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