2 Mar 2024
Monday 25 April 2022 - 16:48
Story Code : 396011

Iran: New talks with Saudi Arabia 'progressive and positive'

Iran has confirmed that itheld a fifth round of "positive" talks with Saudi Arabia in Baghdad on normalizing bilateral relations.

The two countries started direct fence-mending talks last year, butIran announced a temporary halt in Marchafter Saudi Arabia executed 81 men in its biggest massexecution in decades.

"The fifth round of talks between Saudi Arabia and Tehranwere held in Iraq and the talks were progressive and positive," Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman SaeedKhatibzadeh told a televised weekly news conference on Monday.

Iraqi Foreign Minister Fuad Husseinsaid SundayBaghdad would host a new round of talks between Tehran and Riyadh.

Hussein toldthe official Iraqi News Agencythat the fifth round of talkswas held a friendly atmosphere earlier this week.

Hussein had earlier stated that the Iraqi government would make every effort in order to create a suitable opportunity for a common understanding between the two regional powers.

Irans Nour News, affiliated with the countrys Supreme National Security Council (SNSC), first announced the fifth round of negotiations on Saturday.

The outlet described the negotiations as positive,with the two sides exchangingviews on the main challenges hindering the resumption of bilateral relations.

The positive atmosphere of the recent meeting has raised hopes for the two countries to take a step towards the resumption of relations. It is expected that a joint meeting between the foreign ministers of the two countries will be held in the near future, the news agency said in a tweet in Persian.

Saudi Arabia severed diplomatic relations with Iran in January 2016 after Iranian protesters, enraged by the Saudi execution of prominent Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr Baqir al-Nimr, stormed its embassy in Tehran.

In the years that ensued, the kingdompursued a confrontational foreign policy toward the Islamic Republic, but it has apparently changed tack since 2021.

Both Tehran and Riyadh have hinted that some progress has been made in their recent rounds of negotiations.

The two neighbors, however, remain deeply divided over a set of regional issues, mainly the destructive Saudi-led war on Yemen.

Last month, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said Tehran welcomes Saudi Arabias new inclination to fix bilateral relations, stating that rapprochement between the two sides will benefit both nations as well as other friendly states.

We have different views and approaches on some issues in the region, but the management of those differences by the two sides can serve the interests of the two nations and friendly and brotherly countries, he said.

Amir-Abdollahian was reacting to comments by Saudi Crown Prince and de facto ruler Mohammed bin Salman, who had said earlier that the two countries should find a way to coexist.

We have had discussions, and we have heard many statements from Iranian leaders that are very welcome in Saudi Arabia, the Saudi crown prince said. I hope we can reach a position that is good for both countries, and a bright future for Saudi Arabia and Iran.

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