Riyadh/Tehran, March 11, (dpa/GNA) – Iran and Saudi Arabia, agreed on Friday to resume diplomatic relations, and re-open embassies within two months, after years of tensions between the regional rivals.
Following talks hosted by China since Monday, the two countries reached the agreement due to “their shared desire to resolve the disagreements between them, through dialogue and diplomacy,” according to a joint statement carried by state media in Iran and Saudi Arabia.
The foreign ministers will first meet to arrange the exchange of ambassadors and discuss ways to enhance ties.
The deal includes “an agreement to resume diplomatic ties, and re-open their embassies and missions within a period not exceeding two months, and includes their affirmation of respecting the sovereignty of states, and non-interfering in internal affairs,” the statement said.
Riyadh, Tehran and Beijing “expressed their keenness to exert all efforts towards enhancing regional and international peace and security,” it added.
Senior Chinese foreign policy official, Wang Yi, congratulated the two countries on the agreement in a statement published by his ministry late on Friday, calling it “a victory for dialogue and peace.”
The deal sends “a clear signal to a currently turbulent world,” Wang said. He stressed that the war in Ukraine wasn’t the only problem, but that there were many others requiring the attention of the international community. China wants to continue to play a constructive role in the “hot issues of today’s world,” the foreign policy official added.
Iranian state media published a video of the signing ceremony in Beijing. The secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, Ali Shamkhani, led the Iranian delegation, while Musaad bin Mohammed al-Aiban, minister of state and national security advisor, led the Saudi delegates.
On Twitter, Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan said the development is in line with Saudi Arabia’s preference for political solutions and dialogue.
Saudi Arabia severed diplomatic relations with regional rival Iran, following an attack by Iranian Islamists on the Saudi embassy in Tehran in 2016.
Both countries have faced off in regional proxy conflicts, including in Syria and Yemen.
Iraq and Oman, who have mediated between the two countries in recent years, welcomed the announcement.
Iraq hosted low-level secret talks to mediate between the two countries. The diplomatic rapprochement helped decrease the hostile rhetoric previously exchanged by the two, but did not lead to a meeting between their top diplomats as Iraq had hoped.
Resuming ties could have a positive impact on hot spots in the region such as the crisis in Syria, Yemen or Lebanon, security analyst Naif al-Waka told Saudi state television Al-Ekhbariya.
It will also enhance China’s status in the region, al-Waka added.
China’s mediation comes after it recently enhanced its relations with Saudi Arabia, a traditional US ally.
In December, Chinese President Xi Jinping visited the Gulf kingdom for talks with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and other Arab leaders, amid US concerns of Beijing’s growing influence in the region.
Prominent Saudi journalist and commentator Faisal Abbas, said the United States remains a steadfast partner of Riyadh and that “China was chosen simply because of its neutrality and lack of bias in the negotiations.”