June 4, 2023

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Iran and S. Arabia issue joint statement, vow to bring security and stability

TEHRAN – Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian and his Saudi counterpart Faisal bin Farhan al-Saud held talk in Beijing on Thursday and issued a joint statement in which they agreed to restore diplomatic ties.

The meeting between the chief diplomats from the two countries followed a historic peace deal brokered by China last month between the two major countries in the Persian Gulf region.

It was the first formal gathering of top diplomats from the two countries in more than seven years.

In their statement, they agreed to launch arrangements to reopen embassies and consulates within the two month-period stipulated in the deal announced on March 10.

Part of the statement also said, “The two sides emphasized the importance of following up on the implementation of the Beijing Agreement and its activation in a way that expands mutual trust and the fields of cooperation and helps create security, stability and prosperity in the region.”

It added, “The technical teams will continue coordination to examine 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.”

Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang witnessed the signing of the joint statement by the two sides.

According to South China Morning Post, Qin said, “China supports the two sides continuing to enhance trust and clear doubts, and to take new steps on the road to de-escalation according to the communique.”

Iran’s state news agency IRNA reported that Faisal bin Farhan had invited his Iranian counterpart to visit Saudi Arabia and the two officials had agreed to work to resume flights between the two countries and allow Iranian citizens to apply for a pilgrimage visa to visit Mecca.

It also said the two countries had agreed to work to activate a general agreement to cooperate on economy, trade, investment, technology, science, culture, sports and youth signed back in 1998, as well as a security cooperation deal signed in 2001.

IRNA reported that Amir Abdollahian also invited Faisal bin Farhan to visit Iran.

Amir Abdollahian called his talks with Faisal bin Farhan “positive”.

“Today I had a positive dialogue with my colleague Amir Faisal bin Farhan,” Amir Abdollahian tweeted.

“Official start of Tehran-Riyadh diplomatic ties, resumption of Umra hajj, economic and commercial cooperation, reopening of embassies and consulates and emphasis on stability, sustainable security and development of the region are subjects of consensus and on common agenda,” the Iranian foreign minister wrote.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kanaani, who is accompanying Amir Abdollahian to China, also assessed the talks between Iranian and Saudi foreign ministers as positive and said Tehran and Riyadh “officially reactivated their ties” from Thursday, April 6, 2023.

“New positive atmosphere”

Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan also said a “new chapter” has been opened between Saudi Arabia and Iran which will create “new horizons for friendly and brotherly ties”.   

He also said his country is ready to implement the agreements between the two countries and welcomed exchange of delegations between Tehran and Riyadh.

The Saudi chief diplomat also said restoration of ties has created a “new positive atmosphere in the entire region” and Saudi Arabia is ready to reinforce this spirit through cooperation with Iran.

According to the March deal, consulates would start operating in two other major cities — Mashhad in Iran and Jeddah in Saudi Arabia.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Mao Ning hailed the meeting, saying the ministers “expressed their gratitude to China for its contribution to the promotion of dialogue.”

Saudi Arabia severed relations with Iran in January 2016, after protesters attacked its embassy in Tehran and consulate in Mashhad after Saudi Arabia executed opposition Shia cleric Nimr al-Nimr and 43 dissidents.

Talks between the foreign ministers are expected to be followed by Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi’s visit to Riyadh.

Raisi accepted an invitation from Saudi King Salman, Iran’s First Vice President Mohammad Mokhber said on Monday.

The Guardian said the two foreign ministers also discussed the looming visit to Saudi Arabia by the Iranian president.

In a commentary NBC News said Chinese President Xi Jinping helped broker the surprise deal in March between Iran and Saudi Arabia in a display of Beijing’s growing influence in the Middle East.

China’s role in the breakthrough shook up dynamics in a conflict-ridden region where the United States has been the main mediator for decades, NBC News added.

Business Insider also said the historic meeting in Beijing on Thursday between the Saudi and Iranian foreign ministers further cemented a diplomatic breakthrough brokered earlier this year by China. The move shows Beijing’s growing influence in the region, and how U.S. influence could be waning, it added.

Gulf News also said the deal could impact global energy markets as both countries are major oil and gas producers and where any disruption to production typically leads to price fluctuations.

“There are huge areas for cooperation in the oil, gas and petrochemical sectors between the two countries,” said Keyvan Kashefi, a board member of Iran’s Chamber of Commerce.

Saudi Finance Minister Mohammad Al Jadaan last month flagged potential investment in Iran.

He said there were “a lot of opportunities” in Iran, and that he couldn’t see any reason to prevent investments taking place between the two states.

Original News : https://www.tehrantimes.com/news/483413/Iran-and-S-Arabia-issue-joint-statement-vow-to-bring-security

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