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Tehran and Riyadh’s top envoys meet in Beijing and discuss diplomatic relations News

BEIJING/DUBAI, April 6 (Reuters) – The foreign ministers of Iran and Saudi Arabia met in Beijing for the first formal meeting of their top diplomats in more than seven years, CCTV reported on Thursday, following a negotiated deal by China to restore ties between regional rivals.

After years of hostility that fueled conflicts in the Middle East, Tehran and Riyadh agreed to end their diplomatic rift and reopen embassies in a major deal facilitated by China last month.

In a short video broadcast on Iranian state television on Thursday, Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud and his Iranian counterpart, Hossein Amirabdollahian, greet each other before sitting next to each other.

In March, Chinese President Xi Jinping helped broker a surprise deal between regional rivals Tehran and Riyadh to end a seven-year rift and restore diplomatic ties, a sign of China’s growing influence in the region. .

In March, Xi spoke by phone with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud on various issues.

The resumption of relations announced last month and arrangements for the exchange of ambassadors were discussed at the meeting, Iran’s semi-official ISNA news agency reported.

Beijing’s role in the advance between Tehran and Riyadh has shaken the dynamics in the Middle East, where the United States was for decades the main mediator.

Saudi Arabia cut ties with Iran in 2016 after its embassy in Tehran was stormed during a dispute between the two countries over the execution of a Shi’ite Muslim cleric in Riyadh.

The kingdom then asked Iranian diplomats to leave within 48 hours while it evacuated its embassy staff from Tehran.

The relationship began to sour a year earlier, after Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates intervened in the Yemen war, where the Iran-aligned Houthi movement toppled a Saudi-backed government and took over the capital, Sanaa. .

For Saudi Arabia, the deal could mean greater security. The kingdom has blamed Iran for arming the Houthis, who have carried out missile and drone strikes on its cities and oil facilities.

In 2019, Riyadh directly blamed the Islamic Republic for a massive attack on Aramco’s oil facilities, which wiped out half of its oil production. Tehran denied those accusations.

Reporting by Hatem Maher and Enas Alashray, and Liz Lee in Beijing; Written by Hatem Maher, Michael Georgy, and Parisa Hafezi; Edited by Clarence Fernandez and Gerry Doyle

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.



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