Iranian Foreign Minister Announces Meeting with Saudi Counterpart


(MENAFN) Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian announced on Sunday that he will meet his Saudi counterpart in the near future, with three proposed locations for the high-profile meeting. The announcement comes after Iran and Saudi Arabia agreed to restore diplomatic ties last week, following several days of deliberations between the two countries' top security officials in Beijing. The two estranged Persian Gulf neighbors have agreed to have technical teams visit the embassies and consulates in the two countries that were shut down in January 2016.

Speaking at a year-end press conference in Tehran, Amir-Abdollahian gave details about the China-brokered rapprochement, which followed two years of diplomatic parleys in Iraq and Oman. Chinese President Xi Jinping offered to mediate between Tehran and Riyadh during President Ebrahim Raisi's visit to Beijing in February. Iran initially proposed to hold talks at the level of deputy foreign ministers, but the Saudi side insisted on having a "high-level security dialogue" between the two sides. As a result, top security official Ali Shamkhani led the talks on behalf of Tehran that broke the diplomatic ice with Riyadh and ended the seven-year deadlock.

After sealing the diplomatic deal with Riyadh in Beijing, Shamkhani traveled to Abu Dhabi for high-level talks with top Emirati officials, followed by a visit to Baghdad on Sunday. Amir-Abdollahian emphasized that the ministry and the country's top security body are "working in close coordination" and that Shamkhani's regional tour has a "security aspect."

The Iranian Foreign Minister stated that Iran and Saudi Arabia have been exchanging messages through Switzerland over the past few days. In the latest message, Iran expressed its readiness for the foreign ministerial meeting and proposed three potential venues for it. The restoration of diplomatic ties between Iran and Saudi Arabia is a significant development in the region, and the upcoming meeting between the two foreign ministers could pave the way for improved relations between the two countries. Continued efforts are needed to address outstanding issues and build mutual trust between the two sides to create a sustainable political solution.

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