Saudi FM sees swapping visits with Iran

RIYADH: Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan said that the Saudi government is preparing for the resumption of bilateral relations with Iran in a couple of months and expressed hope to exchange visits with Iran.
In a Chinese-mediated deal, Saudi Arabia and Iran have decided to resume their diplomatic relations and reached a concord to reopen embassies that were shut down since 2016. The tensions were at their peak as the Saudi government executed Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr upon conviction of terrorism among other 46 people.
Prince Faisal, in an interview with the Saudi-owned Al Sharq Al Awsat news agency, said that the recent agreement with Tehran to resume diplomatic ties confirms the desire of both sides “to resolve differences through communication and dialogue”.
He also stressed that it doesn’t mean that it has “resolved all the other outstanding differences between the two countries.”
Prince Faisal said he was looking forward to meeting his Iranian counterpart soon as per the agreement. “We are preparing to resume diplomatic relations between our countries within the next two months, and it’s natural that we exchange visits in the future,” he said.
Saudi Arabia and Iran are neighbouring countries that have many common features such as religion, culture and history, said the Saudi minister.
The Saudi prince also stressed that the deal “served as evidence of our mutual desire to resolve [the differences] through communication and dialogue, through peaceful ways and diplomatic instruments.”
Prince Faisal also added that the Kingdom hopes to open a new chapter with Iran and to enhance the prospects of cooperation in a way that positively impacts the strengthening of security and stability, and the advancement of development and prosperity, not only for Saudi Arabia and Iran but in the region as a whole.
The Saudi minister, while talking about the Iranian nuclear programme, stated that Iran’s continued development of its nuclear capabilities is undoubtedly a concern for the kingdom, and the Saudi government repeats its call for the Gulf region and the Middle East to be free of weapons of mass destruction. –Agencies