Foreign ministers of Iran, Saudi Arabia meet in China

The meeting – the first of the two countries’ most senior diplomats in more than seven years – follows a March rapprochement.

The foreign ministers of Iran and Saudi Arabia
China helped broker the detente between Saudi Arabia and Iran [Handout via Al Jazeera]

The foreign ministers of Iran and Saudi Arabia have met in Beijing in the first formal meeting of the two countries’ top diplomats in seven years.

Saudi Arabia’s state-run broadcaster Al Ekhbariya released brief footage of the meeting on Twitter on Thursday showing Prince Faisal bin Farhan and his Iranian counterpart, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, shaking hands and smiling in front of a traditional Chinese painting as well as the flags of their respective countries.

They then headed into a meeting room where they sat down in wide armchairs and chatted.

Iran and Saudi Arabia agreed in March to restore ties and reopen diplomatic missions within two months after a years-long rift that raised tensions in the Gulf region and deepened conflicts from Yemen to Syria.

The two men discussed steps towards reopening their embassies and consulates, the AFP news agency reported citing Iran’s Islamic Republic News Agency.

(Translation: Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan and Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian hold a meeting)

China helped bring the two sides together and broker the landmark agreement.

Riyadh cut formal ties after Iranian protesters attacked Saudi Arabian diplomatic missions in 2016 following Saudi Arabia’s execution of Shia Muslim leader Nimr al-Nimr – one in a series of flashpoints between the two longstanding regional rivals.

Source: Al Jazeera