Saudi, Iranian FMs meet in Beijing, discuss diplomatic ties 

Saudi, Iranian FMs meet in Beijing, discuss diplomatic ties 

Beijing (Web Desk/Agencies): The foreign ministers of Saudi Arabia and Iran met in Beijing on Thursday.

This is the first formal meeting between the top level diplomats of the two countries in more than seven years after China brokered a deal to restore ties between the regional rivals.

In brief footage broadcast on Iranian state TV, Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud and his Iranian counterpart, Hossein Amirabdollahian, greeted each other before sitting down side by side.

In a joint statement, the two countries said that they would launch arrangements to reopen embassies and consulates within the two-month period stipulated in the deal last month.

“The technical teams will continue coordination to examine the ways of expanding cooperation including the resumption of flights and bilateral visits of official and private sector delegations and facilitating the granting of visas for the citizens of the two countries,” they said.

According to Iranian state TV, Foreign Minister Amirabdollahian said the Thursday meeting with his Saudi counterpart was “good and forward-looking.”

It is pertinent to mention that this meeting preceded three telephone conversations between the two ministers in recent weeks after signing the agreement, brokered by China.

In March, China's President Xi Jinping helped broker a surprise deal between regional rivals Tehran and Riyadh to end a seven-year rift and restore diplomatic ties - a display of China's growing influence in the region.

In March, Xi spoke by phone with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud about several issues.

The resumption of relations that was announced last month and arrangements for the exchange of ambassadors was discussed in the meeting, Iran's semi-official ISNA news agency reported.