Monday, December 5, 2022

Saudi FM says progress made in talks with Iran but “not enough”

Saudi Arabia's foreign minister says there has been some progress in talks between Riyadh and Tehran but "not enough" and that the kingdom's hands remain outstretched to Iran.

“We have made some progress but not enough,” Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud told a World Economic Forum panel.

“Our hands are stretched out,” he said.

“We continue to encourage our neighbours in Iran to lean into what can be a very, very important sea change in our region,” he continued, adding that a “new era of cooperation” in the could deliver benefits for all.

Last week, a member of the Iranian Parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Commission said Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdolalhian and his Saudi counterpart will meet in Iraq in the near future.

Iran and Saudi Arabia have held several rounds of talks to normalize their relations. Iraq has mediated the negotiations.

Tehran and Riyadh cut off ties in 2016 after Iranians held a protest outside the Saudi embassy in Tehran to condemn the execution of Shia Muslim cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr inside the kingdom.

The two countries also have differences over a range of other issues. Saudi Arabia accuses Iran of providing military support to Yemen’s Houthi Ansarullah movement, which brought about the collapse of a Riyadh-friendly government in Sana’a in 2014.

Riyadh is also an opponent of Iran’s nuclear program.

The two are also divided over the Saudi-led war on Yemen and Riyadh’s regional role including its support of militants that tried to topple the Damascus government for nearly a decade after their insurgency began in Syria in 2011.

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