US envoy Malley meets with Saudi diplomat to discuss Iran nuclear deal
Prince Abdullah bin Khalid Al-Saud met Malley after separate meetings with French and Russian officials in the days prior.
US Special Envoy for Iran Rob Malley on Friday met with Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the International Organizations in Vienna to discuss the latest developments in talks to revive a nuclear deal between Tehran and Western powers.
According to Al Arabiya, Prince Abdullah bin Khalid Al-Saud convened with Malley after separate meetings with French and Russian officials in the days prior, where he was provided with updates to the talks.
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Russia’s ambassador to Vienna, Mikhail Ulyanov, tweeted a photo of the meeting, revealing that he briefed the Saudi side on the situation in the Vienna talks. “We also exchanged views on prospects of security dialogue in the [Gulf] area,’” the Russian diplomat wrote.
Met with the Permanent Representative of Saudi Arabia and his colleagues from the capital. Briefed them on the situation in the #ViennaTalks. We also exchanged views on prospects of security dialogue in the area of Persian Gulf. pic.twitter.com/ju5CdxqqWo— Mikhail Ulyanov (@Amb_Ulyanov) January 6, 2022
Asked about a reported meeting between Prince Abdullah and Malley earlier in the week, a State Department official told Al Arabiya English that the pair would “periodically” meet. “These engagements are part of the US commitment to consulting closely with our regional partners on the ongoing talks,” the official added.
Gulf countries have long been demanding a seat at the negotiating table, citing their geographical proximity to Iran and the direct threats imposed by Iran’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs.
Saudi Arabia has voiced its support for a deal that would put a halt to Iran’s nuclear program and ensure the security of the region.
Iran-backed militias have provoked violence in multiple countries, including Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Yemen. Yemen’s Houthis, armed and trained by both Iran and Hezbollah, continue to launch bomb-laden missiles and drones at Saudi Arabia almost daily.
But Iran has, so far, refused to discuss its ballistic missile program and its support for militias during the talks in Vienna.
Read more: Iran displays ballistic missiles amid nuclear talks with world powers
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