September 26, 2023

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Riyadh launches initial step for long-term co-op deal with Iran: FM

TEHRAN- Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian has said Saudi Arabia has taken the initial steps toward developing a “long-term cooperation agreement” with Iran.

Talking to reporters on Friday on board the plane after concluding a two-day trip to the Saudi Kingdom, he noted that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman “ordered the kingdom’s Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan for preliminary measures to devise the framework of the long-term cooperation document between the countries.”

The document would be completed and signed by senior officials from both nations, added Amir Abdollahian.

Amir Abdollahian and bin Salman had “frank and fruitful” discussions on Friday in the city of Jeddah, the highest level of negotiations since the restoration of bilateral ties on March 10.

The talks were “explicit, frank, fruitful, and productive based on neighborhood policy,” Amir Abdollahian said after his 90-minute meeting with the Saudi de-facto leader. 

The visit by Amir Abdollahian, the first by an Iranian foreign minister to the kingdom in more than ten years, was a turning point in bilateral relationship.

Saudi Arabia suspended the connections in January 2016 when Iranian demonstrators stormed the Saudi embassy in Tehran following the Saudi execution of famous Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr Baqir al-Nimr.

But in March, following intense talks held in China, the two sides reached a reconciliation agreement, and three months later, each side named a new ambassador to the other’s capital.

The foreign minister described his discussions with the Saudi crown prince during the trip, saying that they lasted “90 minutes, more than 70% of which was focused on bilateral issues.”

“Because we are of the opinion that all-out and sustainable relations should take shape between Tehran and Riyadh,” Amir Abdollahian averred.

According to the Iranian foreign minister, Saudi Arabia made an effort to highlight during the visit that it has adopted a “new attitude” in comparison to the past.

He pointed out that the Saudi officials made an effort to show that it was ready to turn “a new page in the countries’ relations.”

He predicted that “the region will enter a new stage of multilateral cooperation,” crediting the possibility to the growing realization that the region can advance its development “without reliance on foreigners.”

Saudi crown prince invited to visit Iran

Meanwhile, Iran’s top diplomat indicated that the Iranian government has invited the Saudi crown prince to visit the Islamic Republic.

He went on to add that the Saudi crown prince approved the visit, stating he would make the necessary arrangements to come to Tehran “at the appropriate time.”

Kuwait: Amir Abdollahian’s fruitful visit to Riyadh can strengthen regional stability 

Kuwait’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Salem Abdullah Al-Jaber al-Sabah has said that the visit by Amir Abdollahian to Saudi Arabia will help the region achieve peace, stability, and prosperity.

In a statement issued by Kuwait’s Foreign Ministry on Friday, Sabah said Iran and Saudi Arabia’s connections will help nations be better equipped to deal with issues in the future.

He commended the visit of the Iranian foreign minister to the Saudi Kingdom, saying it demonstrated the two nations’ desire to mend fences and maintain regional security and stability.

A “bright chapter” in the history of relations between Iran and the Persian Gulf nations “on the principles of good neighborliness ties, non-interference in other countries’ internal affairs, cooperation, and dialogue” was declared by the senior Kuwaiti diplomat in the wake of the visit.

Sabah also praised Iraq and Oman’s efforts to facilitate negotiations as well as China’s mediation in bringing Tehran and Riyadh closer together.

“We have consensus on security and development for all in the region,” the top Iranian diplomat wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter.

The negotiations between the top Saudi diplomat and his Iranian counterpart took place in the Saudi capital Riyadh the day before the meeting with the crown prince. 

In a joint news conference following the negotiations, Amir Abdollahian emphasized the importance of the discussions and said that relations between the two nations “are progressing in the right direction.”

Iran’s embassy in Saudi Arabia restarted operations in June, and Iranian media announced earlier this month that the kingdom’s embassy in Tehran had done the same.

On August 6, Saudi Arabia reopened its embassy in Tehran. A week later, on August 13, it reopened its consulate in Mashhad, a city in northeastern Iran.

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