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Regional rivals Saudi Arabia and Iran have agreed to resume diplomatic relations and re-open embassies and missions, Saudi Arabia, Iran, and China said in a joint statement on Friday, following a week of Saudi-Iranian talks in Beijing.
“The three countries announce that an agreement has been reached between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Islamic Republic of Iran, that includes an agreement to resume diplomatic relations between them and re-open their embassies and missions within a period not exceeding two months, and the agreement includes their affirmation of the respect for the sovereignty of states and the non-interference in internal affairs of states,” the Saudi Press Agency reported.
The statement carried by the Saudi agency also reads that “The three countries expressed their keenness to exert all efforts towards enhancing regional and international peace and security.”
The two regional powers in the Middle East, whose strained relations have exacerbated conflicts in Yemen and Syria, also agreed after the Beijing talks that the Saudi and Iranian foreign ministers will meet to implement the agreements, arrange for the return of the ambassadors, and discuss ways to enhance bilateral relations, the statement said.
After several days of intensive negotiations between Ali Shamkhani, Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC), and Saudi Arabia’s national security adviser Musaid Al Aiban in Beijing, “an agreement was reached on Friday aimed at resuming relations between the two countries,” Iranian news agency IRNA reported.
The rift between Saudi Arabia and Iran has shaped regional politics in the Middle East in recent years and decades.
Both countries are members of OPEC and are some of its major oil producers, although Iran’s output has declined since 2018 when then-U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew from the so-called Iranian nuclear deal and re-imposed sanctions on the Iranian oil industry and exports. Saudi Arabia, OPEC’s largest producer, also leads the OPEC+ agreement with Russia on oil production quotas. Iran is exempted from quotas because of the sanctions against it.
By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com
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Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com