BEIRUT (AA) – The Iranian foreign minister has said his country and Saudi Arabia had agreed in December to hold bilateral talks that would lead to normalization of their ties.
Hossein Abdollahian’s remarks came during a joint news conference with his Lebanese counterpart Abdallah Bou Habib in Lebanon’s capital Beirut.
He said Iran and Saudi Arabia reached an understanding on the sidelines of the Baghdad Summit in Jordan last December to resume bilateral talks for normalization between the two countries.
The Baghdad Summit, which addressed topics to help Iraq restore security and stability, was attended by 12 countries — Jordan, Iraq, France, Türkiye, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Kuwait, Bahrain, and Oman.
Following the December 2022 summit, Abdollahian said he had a “friendly conversation” with his Saudi counterpart Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud on the sidelines of the summit in the Jordanian capital Amman, in the first high-level contact between the two sides since 2016.
“My Saudi counterpart assured me of his country’s willingness to continue the dialogue with Iran,” the top diplomat said.
The two neighbors severed their diplomatic ties after the Saudi diplomatic mission in Tehran was attacked by an angry mob in January 2016 over the execution of a Saudi Shi’ite cleric, Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr.
Since April 2021, Tehran and Riyadh have held talks, brokered by Baghdad, to restore diplomatic relations. Both sides have noted progress, while there has been no breakthrough.