Iran, Saudi Arabia hold ice-breaking talks in Beijing - RTHK
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Iran, Saudi Arabia hold ice-breaking talks in Beijing

2023-04-06 HKT 16:15
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  • Iran, Saudi Arabia hold ice-breaking talks in Beijing
Top diplomats from Middle East rivals Iran and Saudi Arabia met in Beijing on Thursday, pledging to work together to bring "security and stability" to their turbulent region following a China-brokered deal.

In a joint statement released after talks between Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian and Saudi counterpart Prince Faisal bin Farhan, the two sides vowed to continue to work together to improve ties.

"The two sides emphasised 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," said the statement.

Tehran and Riyadh announced a Beijing-brokered agreement in March to restore relations that had been severed seven years ago when protesters in Iran attacked Saudi diplomatic missions.

The ministers' visit to Beijing came as French President Emmanuel Macron and EU chief Ursula von der Leyen were also in the Chinese capital, seeking to make Europe's case in a meeting with President Xi Jinping for bringing an end to the conflict in Ukraine.

The two sides "negotiated and exchanged opinions with the emphasis on the official resumption of bilateral relations and the executive steps towards the reopening of the embassies and consulates of the two countries", Iran's foreign ministry said in a statement.

Saudi state TV channel Al Ekhbariya aired footage of the pair shaking hands in front of Saudi and Iranian flags and then talking and smiling.

In a readout from state broadcaster CCTV, Beijing hailed "the first official meeting between the foreign ministers of the two countries in more than seven years" and Beijing's "active mediation" in the diplomacy.

Under last month's agreement, the two countries are to reopen their embassies and missions within two months and implement security and economic cooperation deals signed more than 20 years ago.

Officials from Iran and Saudi Arabia held several rounds of dialogue in Baghdad and Oman before they met in Beijing.

Saudi Arabia severed relations with Iran in January 2016, after protesters attacked its embassy in Tehran and consulate in the Iranian city of Mashhad over Riyadh's execution of the Saudi opposition Shiite cleric Nimr al-Nimr. (AFP)

Iran, Saudi Arabia hold ice-breaking talks in Beijing