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Iran, Saudi FMs meet for fourth time since rapprochement

Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan (R) and Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian meet in the premises of Saudi Arabia’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations in New York on September 23, 2023.

Top diplomats from Iran and Saudi Arabia have met for the fourth time since a rapprochement between the countries was announced in China in March this year. 

The meeting between Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian and Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan was held on Saturday in New York on the sidelines of a United Nations General Assembly meeting.

Iran’s Foreign Ministry said in a brief statement that Amir Abdollahian and bin Farhan had discussed issues of mutual interest, including bilateral ties and regional developments, during the meeting held at the office of Saudi Arabia's Permanent Mission to the UN.

The two top diplomats expressed satisfaction with the reopening of embassies and the exchange of ambassadors in Tehran and Riyadh.

Amir-Abdollahian said that Iran is prepared to organize and sign a comprehensive cooperation document with Saudi Arabia, building up on the ideas exchanged during his meeting with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in August.

He also put a premium on the establishment of a Joint Economic Commission to expand economic and trade relations between the two countries.

Amir-Abdollahian also stressed the need to activate air and sea transportation routes to facilitate travel and trade between the two countries.

Bin Farhan, in turn, expressed satisfaction with the speed at bilateral relations have progressed since rapprochement in March, and said Riyadh was eager to strengthen bilateral cooperation with Tehran.  

The two diplomats had met for the first time in early April in Beijing after China brokered a détente that allowed Iran and Saudi Arabia to restore their normal diplomatic relations after some seven years.

Bin Farhan then traveled to Tehran in mid-June to follow up on efforts to reopen Saudi Arabia’s embassy in Iran.

The Saturday meeting in New York came more than a month after Amir Abdollahian held talks with bin Farhan in Riyadh.

It also came weeks after Iran and Saudi Arabia declared the official reopening of their respective embassies as part of the rapprochement deal.

It was on September 6 that new Iranian and Saudi ambassadors were dispatched to respective diplomatic missions in Riyadh and Tehran.

Analysts believe the rapprochement between Iran and Saudi Arabia would have major implications for peace and stability in the West Asia region.

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