Iran is seeking a joint action with Saudi Arabia to contain sand and dust storms that emanate from the Arab country’s Empty Quarter desert, according to head of the Iranian Department of Environment.
Ali Salajegheh said in remarks published on Thursday that the Empty Quarter, located in south of Saudi Arabia, is responsible for nearly a third of sand and dust storms that enter Iran via its southwestern borders and affect vast areas of the country during dry seasons.
“Based on latest bilateral negotiations, it has been agreed to carry out some joint actions on this desert to fight the sources of sand and dust,” Salajegheh told the ILNA news agency in an interview.
The remarks come just days after Iran and Saudi Arabia officially opened their respective embassies after seven years of no diplomatic relations.
The reopening of the embassies was part of an agreement reached between the two countries in March in China.
The Iranian environment chief said the rapprochement between Iran and Saudi Arabia would enable the two countries to closely and directly cooperate on key environmental issues, including on sand and dust storms.
He said a delegation from Saudi Arabia is to attend the International Conference on Combating Sand and Dust Storms in Tehran on September 9-10.
Some 50 countries as well as 15 international organizations will be represented in the conference which will be held under the auspices of the United Nations.
Salajegheh said if a final agreement is reached between Iran and Saudi Arabia, experts from the two countries will contribute to the joint operation to fight sand and dust emanating from the Empty Quarter desert.
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