Saudi foreign minister ‘hopeful’ over exploratory talks with Iran
Saudi Arabia foreign minister says Kingdom is “hopeful” after exploratory talks with Iran, in a rare comment on delicate discussions whose details have been closely guarded.
The official-level meetings aim to restore relations severed five years ago between the Sunni Muslim kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Shia Islamic Republic of Iran.
“We have initiated some exploratory talks. They are at a very early stage but we are hopeful,” Prince Faisal bin Farhan said in Paris on Tuesday, where he is participating in two international summits.
For all the latest headlines follow our Google News channel online or via the app.
The talks with Iran, facilitated by Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhemi, had remained secret until the Financial Times reported that a first meeting had been held in Baghdad on April 9.
The Iranian government only confirmed on May 10 that the talks had been held, adding that it was “too soon” to discuss the results.
“If (the Iranians) can see that their interest is in a good relationship with their neighbors, I can be hopeful,” Prince Faisal said, emphasizing again that they were “at an early stage.”
Asked what the impact of the June presidential elections in Iran might be, he said he thought it would be minimal.
“Our understanding of Iran’s foreign policy is that it’s set by the Supreme Leader,” he explained. “So we don’t think there will be a substantial change.”
“There may be a change in the representatives that portray that policy, but in the end, it’s what happens on the ground that matters, and that is driven by the Supreme Leader.”
On May 7, a Saudi foreign ministry official said that talks between Saudi Arabia and Iran aim to reduce regional tensions, but added it was too early to judge the outcome and Riyadh wanted to see “verifiable deeds.”
The comments by Ambassador Rayed Krimly, head of policy planning at the ministry, were the first public confirmation from Riyadh that the rivals - who severed ties in 2016 - were holding direct talks.
Saudi official confirms talks with Iran, says too early to assess outcome
Iran confirms talks with Saudi Arabia, promises best efforts
Gulf states and Iran should agree on format for dialogue: Qatari FM
US Secretary Blinken holds first call with Saudi FM Prince Faisal bin FarhanUS Secretary of State Antony Blinken held his first phone call with Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan where the two discussed ... Gulf
Bahrain, Kuwait strongly condemn Lebanon’s FM statements on Saudi Arabia and GCCThe Ministries of Foreign Affairs of Kuwait and Bahrain expressed their strong condemnation of the offensive statements made by the Minister of ... Gulf
Lebanon's Hezbollah backs Iran talks with US, Saudi Arabia: NasrallahThe leader of Lebanon’s militant Hezbollah group on Friday indicated his support for a dialogue between Iran on one side and the US and Saudi Arabia ... Middle East
Iran welcomes Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince statements, says mark ‘change of tone’Iran welcomes Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s recent statements, describing them as marking a “change of tone,” Foreign Ministry ... Middle East
Germany bans three groups close to Lebanon’s HezbollahThe German government said Wednesday it is banning three groups close to Hezbollah, the Lebanese movement that opposes Israel, against the backdrop of ... Middle East