Saudi FM: Agreement with Iran doesn’t translate to resolving all differences

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Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan said that the agreement with Iran to restore diplomatic ties confirms the mutual desire “to resolve differences through communication and dialogue,” but stressed that it doesn’t translate to “resolving all the differences between the two countries.”

Saudi Arabia and Iran announced on Friday a China brokered deal reestablishing diplomatic relations and agreeing to reopen embassies after seven years of heightened tensions.

Prince Faisal said in an interview with Saudi-owned Al Sharq Al Awsat newspaper he was looking forward to meeting his Iranian counterpart soon as per the agreement. “We are preparing to resume diplomatic relations between our countries within the next two months, and it’s natural that we exchange visits in the future,” he said.

The Saudi FM highlighted that Saudi Arabia and Iran were neighboring countries that had many common threads such as religion, culture, and history.

As for the outstanding differences between the two countries, the Saudi FM stressed that the deal “served as evidence of our mutual desire to resolve [the differences] through communication and dialogue, through peaceful ways and diplomatic instruments.”

He added: “We in the Kingdom hope to open a new chapter with Iran and to enhance the prospects of cooperation in a way that positively impacts the strengthening of security and stability, and the advancement of development and prosperity, not only in our two countries, but in the region as a whole.”

Prince Faisal expressed concerns about Iran’s nuclear program: “With regard to Iran's continued development of its nuclear capabilities, this is undoubtedly a concern for us, and we repeat our call for the Gulf region and the Middle east to be free of weapons of mass destruction. We call on Iran to commit to its nuclear obligations and increasing its cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency. We will continue to work with allies and friends in order to ensure this.”

The Saudi minister spoke of China’s role in brokering the deal, saying: “China has positive relations with both parties, which contributed to aligning views and highlighting the legitimate concerns of the Kingdom. We hope that China's mediation of the agreement will contribute to enhancing coexistence and shared security in our region and improve neighborly relationships between countries.”

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