MOSCOW, April 18 – RIA Novosti. High-ranking officials of Saudi Arabia and Iran are in direct negotiations with the aim of restoring diplomatic relations severed five years ago, writes the Financial Times, citing sources.
According to the newspaper, the talks, which took place on April 9 in Baghdad with the mediation of Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Kazemi, are “the first significant political discussions” between the two countries since 2016. Accents
According to sources, the talks included the topic of attacks by the Ansar Allah (Houthis) movement on Saudi territory and were “positive.” The Saudi Arabian delegation was led by the head of the General Intelligence Service, Khalid bin Ali al-Humaydan. Sources say the next round of talks is scheduled for next week.
It is noted that the negotiations took place against the backdrop of attempts by US President Joe Biden to restore the nuclear deal and reduce tension in the region. Another factor that influenced the fact that Iran and Saudi Arabia sat down at the negotiating table is the desire of the latter to end the six-year war in Yemen, as well as “win the favor of the Biden administration, which promised to reconsider relations with the kingdom,” writes the Financial Times.
According to one of the officials, quoted by the newspaper, “the negotiations are progressing faster because the US negotiations (on the nuclear deal) are also moving faster because of the attacks of the Houthis.”
At the same time, as the newspaper notes, a high-ranking Saudi official has denied the fact of negotiations with Iran. The Iraqi and Iranian governments declined to comment.
Saudi Arabia broke off diplomatic relations with Iran in January 2016 after attacks on its diplomatic missions in Tehran and Mashhad were carried out, provoked by the execution in Saudi Arabia of the famous Shiite preacher Nimr al-Nimr. Out of solidarity with Riyadh, one of the leaders of the Arab Sunni world, Bahrain, Sudan and Djibouti have ended diplomatic relations with Iran.