BEIJING: Iran and Saudi Arabia on Friday agreed to re-establish diplomatic relations after Chinese-mediated talks in Beijing.
Over five days of negotiations, it was agreed that the two countries will reinstate embassies and missions after seven years of deadlock.
The deal, struck in Beijing this week amid its ceremonial National People’s Congress, represents a major diplomatic victory for the Chinese as Gulf Arab states perceive the United States slowly withdrawing from the wider Middle East. It also comes as diplomats have been trying to end a long war in Yemen, a conflict in which both Iran and Saudi Arabia are deeply entrenched.
The two countries released a joint communique on the deal with China, which brokered the agreement as President Xi Jinping was awarded a third five-year term as leader earlier Friday.
The joint statement calls for reestablishing ties and reopening embassies to happen “within a maximum period of two months.” A meeting by their foreign ministers is also planned.
In the video, Wang could be heard offering “wholehearted congratulations” on the two countries’ “wisdom.”
“Both sides have displayed sincerity,” he said. “China fully supports this agreement.”
The United Nations welcomed the Saudi-Iranian rapprochement and thanked China for its role. “Good neighborly relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia are essential for the stability of the Gulf region,” U.N. spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric told reporters at U.N. headquarters.
China, which last month hosted Iran’s hard-line President Ebrahim Raisi, is also a top purchaser of Saudi oil. Xi visited Riyadh in December for meetings with oil-rich Gulf Arab nations crucial to China’s energy supplies.
Iran’s state-run IRNA news agency quoted Shamkhani as calling the talks “clear, transparent, comprehensive and constructive.”
“Removing misunderstandings and the future-oriented views in relations between Tehran and Riyadh will definitely lead to improving regional stability and security, as well as increasing cooperation among Persian Gulf nations and the world of Islam for managing current challenges,” Shamkhani said.
Meanwhile, The Republic of Iraq and The Sultanate of Oman welcomed the Riyadh-Tehran agreement to resume diplomatic relations.
In a statement, Iraq’s Foreign Ministry welcomed the agreement between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Islamic Republic of Iran to start a “new chapter” of diplomatic relations between the two neighbours.
In a separate message, The Sultanate of Oman welcomed the joint tripartite statement issued by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Islamic Republic of Iran, and the People’s Republic of China to resume diplomatic relations between the Kingdom and Iran, to reopen their embassies and representations within a maximum period of two months, to activate the security cooperation agreement between them, and to cooperate in economics, trade, investment, technology and science, culture, sports, and youth.