Saudi agreement to reestablish ties with Iran stems from policy favoring dialogue: FM

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Saudi Arabia’s agreement with Iran to re-establish diplomatic ties is based on the Kingdom’s policy of favoring political solutions and dialogue, Prince Faisal bin Farhan, the Saudi foreign minister, said on Friday.

“Restoring diplomatic relations between the Kingdom and Iran also stems from [Saudi Arabia’s] keenness to favor political resolutions and dialogue [to resolve disputes] in the region,” Prince Faisal said in a tweet.

“The region’s countries share one destiny and [have a lot] in common, and this makes it necessary to work together to build a model of prosperity and stability,” he added.

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Prince Faisal also told Al Arabiya that the agreement with Iran came after talks that lasted for two years.

“In the end, we reached agreements that are based on [the concept] of good neighborliness, respect of states’ sovereignty… [The agreement] also stems from the Kingdom’s belief that dialogue is the best way to resolve all matters,” he added.

“We are optimistic about the future, and we are working on strengthening the relation with Iran,” he said, adding that the Kingdom “aspires to serve the interests of all countries in the region and protect their security.”

Asked about how the agreement may impact the situation in other countries such as Lebanon, the FM said Lebanon needed “Lebanese rapprochement” and not “Saudi-Iranian rapprochement.”

“Lebanon must [realize] its own interests, and politicians must put Lebanon’s interest before any other. Once they do this and work on building the Lebanese state, Lebanon will prosper,” he added.

The decision to re-establish relations, which were severed in 2016, came following talks that took place from March 6 through March 10 in Beijing.

The announcement, which was made on Friday in a joint statement with China, has been welcomed across the globe as a victory for peace and dialogue.

During the last round of talks before signing the agreement, head of the Saudi delegation Musaed bin Mohammed al-Aiban said that Saudi Arabia’s King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman welcomed Xi’s initiative based on the Kingdom’s adherence to the principles of good neighborliness and to the principle of resorting to dialogue and diplomacy to resolve conflicts.

“King Salman and the Crown Prince thank President Xi Jinping for the kind initiative… [that aims] to develop good neighborly relations between the Kingdom and Iran,” al-Aiban added.

Arab and foreign leaders have welcomed the agreement which they hoped would help calm tensions in the region with many hailing China’s initiative to hold the talks which culminated in reaching the agreement.

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