According to reports published on Wednesday, the meeting, which will be the first of its kind in more than seven years, is aimed at activating a recent agreement between Tehran and Riyadh to revive ties.
Thursday’s meeting follows three telephone conversations between the top Iranian and Saudi diplomats, during which they discussed future steps regarding the landmark China-brokered reconciliation pact as well as other bilateral deals.
Beijing was chosen as the venue for the meeting as an extension of its positive role in mediating the Iran-Saudi rapprochement and facilitating communication between the two Middle Eastern powers.
Meanwhile, Iran’s President Ebrahim Raeisi has already accepted an invitation from Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud to visit Riyadh.
After several days of intensive negotiations hosted by China, Iran and Saudi Arabia agreed on March 10 to resume their diplomatic relations and reopen their embassies and diplomatic missions after seven years of estrangement.
In a joint statement after signing the agreement, Tehran and Riyadh highlighted the need to respect each others’ national sovereignty and refrain from interfering in the internal affairs of one another.
They agreed to implement a security cooperation agreement signed in April 2001 and another accord reached in May 1998 to boost economic, commercial, investment, technical, scientific, cultural, sports, and youth affairs cooperation.
To the dismay of the US and Israel, the detente has the potential to ease tensions across a region characterized by turbulence for decades.