Iran and Saudi Arabia meeting in Beijing to restore ties. March 10, 2023

Saudi, Iranian Foreign Ministers To Meet In Beijing Thursday

Wednesday, 04/05/2023

Saudi and Iranian foreign ministers will meet in Beijing Thursday, sources in both countries said, as the two continue rapprochement amid a China-brokered deal.

The meeting between Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud and his Iranian counterpart, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, will be the first formal meeting between Saudi Arabia and Iran's most senior diplomats in more than seven years.

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

"The top envoys agreed to meet on April 6 in Beijing as the deal was facilitated by China," a senior Iranian official told Reuters.

Choosing China "came as an extension of Beijing's positive role in reaching the agreement and facilitating communication between the two countries," Saudi-owned Asharq al-Awsat newspaper cited an unidentified source in Riyadh as saying.

The resumption of relations and arrangements for the exchange of ambassadors will be discussed in the meeting, it added.

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

The relationship had worsened since 2015, after Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates intervened in the Yemen war, where the Iran-aligned Houthi movement ousted a Saudi-backed government and took over the capital Sanaa.

The kingdom has blamed Iran for arming the Houthis who carried out missile and drone attacks on its cities and oil facilities. Iran has denied the charge, although there is plenty of material evidence of Iranian weapons being used by Houthis.

With reporting by Reuters

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