Iran, Saudi Arabia restore ties

The deal between Riyadh and Tehran may help end the civil war in Yemen.

China, Iran and Saudi Arabia announced Friday in a joint statement in Beijing that Riyadh and Tehran agreed to restore diplomatic relations severed in 2016.

The announcement on the reopening of the two countries’ embassies and missions within two months follows the China-brokered 6 to 10 March talks in Beijing between the kingdom’s Minister of State Musaad bin Mohammed Al-Aiban and the Islamic republic’s Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council Admiral Ali Shamkhani.

Further, the two countries announced they will implement security and economic cooperation deals signed more than 20 years ago, according to Tehran.

“The return to normal relations between Tehran and Riyadh offers great opportunities to the two countries, the region and the Muslim world,” Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said in a tweet, Agence France-Presse reports.

Riyadh cut ties after Iranian protesters attacked Saudi diplomatic missions in 2016 following the Saudi execution of revered Shiite cleric Nimr al-Nimr — just one in a series of flashpoints between the two longstanding rivals.

Friday’s announcement, which follows five days of previously unannounced talks in Beijing and several rounds of dialogue in Iraq and Oman, caps a broader realignment and efforts to ease tensions in the region, Chinese state news agency Xinhua reported.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said the restoration of Saudi and Iran ties has opened a path leading to regional peace and stability in the Middle East.

The Middle East powerhouses are engaged in a proxy war in Yemen with Riyadh backing that country’s government and Tehran supporting Huthi rebels who took over the capital Sana’a in 2014 sparking a civil war.

Tunisia-Syria ties

Meanwhile, Tunisia and Syria are also restoring ties after a decade of being broken.

“Nothing can justify the absence of a Tunisian ambassador in Damascus and an ambassador from Syria in Tunis,” Tunisian President Kais Saied said during a sit-down with Tunisian foreign minister Nabil Ammar, according to a video released by the presidential office Friday night, according to AFP.

He went on to say that the “question of the regime in Syria concerns only the Syrians,” rejecting any interference in the affairs and “choices” of others.

Tunisia expelled Syria’s ambassador in 2012 over the bloody repression of opponents of President Bashar al-Assad at the outset of the country’s civil war.


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