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Saudi Arabia confirms fresh talks with Iran

October 4, 2021 at 11:19 am

Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan Al-Saud. [Russian Foreign Ministry/Anadolu Agency]

Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal Bin Farhan yesterday confirmed that his country had held talks with regional rival Iran last month; the first since President Ibrahim Raisi took office.

“The fourth round of talks took place on September 21,” Bin Farhan said in Riyadh during a joint press conference with the European Union foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell.

“These discussions are still in the exploratory phase, and we hope that they lay the foundation to address issues between the two sides,” he added.

Saudi and Iranian officials have held several rounds of talks over the past months in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, which were revealed for the first time in April.

Iraqi officials recently said the two sides resumed talks in Baghdad, but neither Riyadh nor Tehran confirmed this publicly.

Bin Farhan did not indicate the place or content of the meetings or the level of representation.

In 2016, Riyadh severed relations with Tehran following an attack on its embassy in the Iranian capital, Tehran, and consulate in Mashhad northeast. This came a day after Riyadh announced the execution of 47 people, including a prominent Shia cleric, on terrorism charges.

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