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Iran, Saudi Arabia Sign Agreement to Resume Flights, Facilitate Visas

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Saudi Minister of Foreign Affairs Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al-Saud attends a news conference at the Arab Gulf Summit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, December 9, 2022. Photo: REUTERS/Ahmed Yosri

i24 NewsThe foreign ministers of Iran and Saudi Arabia on Thursday met in China’s Beijing and signed a joint statement, agreeing to resume flights and facilitate visas for the countries’ citizens.

The statement said that their agreement to normalize ties would help bring “security and stability” to the Middle East.

“The two sides emphasized the importance of following up on the implementation of the Beijing Agreement and its activation in a way that expands mutual trust and the fields of cooperation and helps create security, stability and prosperity in the region,” said the statement.

According to Tehran, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian and Saudi Prince Faisal bin Farhan also discussed the reopening of the embassies and consulates in the two countries after years of hostility.

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“The foreign ministers of the Islamic republic of Iran and Saudi Arabia negotiated and exchanged opinions with the emphasis on the official resumption of bilateral relations and the executive steps towards the reopening of the embassies and consulates of the two countries,” the Iranian foreign ministry statement said.

Saudi state TV Al Ekhbariya also said that the two ministers held a meeting in Beijing to “discuss implementing the agreement” that had been announced earlier in March. The surprise rapprochement between Tehran and Riyadh restored relations severed seven years ago when protesters in Iran attacked Saudi diplomatic missions.

The deal brokered by China included the reopening of the embassies within two months. The foreign ministers of the two states have earlier decided to meet during the holy month of Ramadan to discuss next steps in restoring ties. Last week, Tehran said there was a “constructive path of relations between the two countries.”

Talks between the foreign ministers are expected to be followed by Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi’s visit to Riyadh. On Monday Tehran confirmed that Raisi has accepted an invitation from Saudi Arabia’s King Salman.

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