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Arab union: Iran-Saudi detente set to end regional conflicts

The Persian Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) foreign ministers held the 155th ministerial meeting at the headquarters of the General Secretariat of the GCC in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on March 22, 2023.

The Persian Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) has hailed a recent agreement signed between Iran and Saudi Arabia to restore diplomatic relations after seven years of estrangement, saying the accord will mark a positive step in resolving differences and ending regional conflicts through dialogue and diplomacy.

In a statement issued by the GCC Ministerial Council at the end of its 155th session, the body said the agreement, signed in Beijing at the initiative of Chinese President Xi Jinping, includes resumption of diplomatic relations, reopening of embassies, and activation of security and economic cooperation accords between Tehran and Riyadh.

The GCC is a union of six countries in the Persian Gulf region including Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Qatar, Kuwait, Oman, and Bahrain.

It expressed hope that the agreement would establish relations among countries on the basis of understanding, mutual respect, good neighborliness, respect for sovereignty, non-interference in internal affairs, and adherence to the United Nations Charter and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, and international laws and norms.

Iran and Saudi Arabia have supported opposite sides in several conflict zones across the Middle East, including in Yemen and Syria. 

After several days of intensive negotiations hosted by China, the two countries finally clinched a deal on March 10 to restore diplomatic relations and re-open embassies and missions within two months.

According to a joint statement, Iran and Saudi Arabia underscored the need to respect each other’s national sovereignty and refrain from interfering in the internal affairs of one another.

Iran, Saudi Arabia and China also expressed their firm determination to make their utmost efforts to promote regional and international peace and security.

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said on Sunday that he will meet his Saudi Arabian counterpart Prince Faisal bin Farhan “in the near future,” and that Iran has proposed three locations for the meeting.

The GCC Ministerial Council also appreciated the efforts of Oman and Iraq for hosting numerous rounds of negotiations between Iran and Saudi Arabia during 2021 and 2022.

It also commended China's efforts to sponsor and host the talks that resulted in the agreement and to help enhance security and peace in the region.

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