Saudi Arabia and Iran have agreed to hold a meeting before the end of Ramadan to implement a historic bilateral reconciliation deal that was brokered by China. The decision was made during a phone call between Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan and his Iranian counterpart, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian. The two ministers discussed common issues in light of the tripartite agreement signed in China and agreed to hold a bilateral meeting during the ongoing month of Ramadan. The exact date and location of the meeting have not been specified.
The meeting comes after Saudi Arabia and Iran signed a landmark deal to restore ties after seven years of estrangement. Riyadh cut relations with Tehran after Iranian protesters attacked Saudi diplomatic missions in 2016 following the Saudi execution of Shia Muslim leader Nimr al-Nimr. The deal is expected to see Iran and Saudi Arabia reopen their embassies and missions within two months and implement security and economic cooperation deals signed more than 20 years ago.
An Iranian official said on March 19 that Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi had received an invitation to visit Saudi Arabia from King Salman, though Riyadh has yet to confirm. Amir-Abdollahian told reporters the same day that the two countries had agreed to hold a meeting between their top diplomats and that three locations had been suggested without specifying which.
The detente between Saudi Arabia, the world’s biggest crude oil exporter, and Iran, which is strongly at odds with Western governments over its nuclear activities, has the potential to reshape relations across a region characterised by turbulence for decades.