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Saudi Arabia’s FM: Talks with Iran are still in exploratory phase

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Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan said on Sunday that talks between the Kingdom and Iran remain in the “exploratory phase”.

“The fourth round of talks took place on September 21. These discussions remain in the exploratory phase. We hope they lay the foundation to address the issues between the two sides and we will work to achieve that,” Prince Faisal said in a joint press conference with EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell.

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Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said last month that talks between Tehran and Riyadh achieved “serious progress” on the issue of Gulf security.

“We have had several rounds of talks with Saudi Arabia’s government in [Iraqi capital] Baghdad over the past few months. There have been good talks on bilateral issues. Serious progress has been made on the subject of security in the Gulf,” state news agency IRNA quoted Khatibzadeh as saying.

Saudi Arabia and Iran began talks in April in an effort to contain tensions between them. Iraq’s president had said Baghdad hosted the talks.

Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies have long criticized Iran for its malign activities in the region through its network of proxies in Yemen, Syria, and Iraq. The Gulf countries have also condemned Iran’s nuclear program, which Tehran says is for peaceful purposes.

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