EU welcomes Saudi Arabia and Iran's decision to resume ties

European Commission says both countries are 'central for the security of the region'

China's top diplomat Wang Yi is flanked by Saudi Minister of State and national security adviser Musaed bin Al Aiban, left, and Iranian Admiral Ali Shamkhani, secretary of the Supreme National Security Council, in Beijing on Friday. Xinhua via AP
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The EU has welcomed the agreement by Saudi Arabia and Iran to resume diplomatic relations, saying it looked forward to its implementation.

In a joint statement with China on Friday, Riyadh and Tehran said they had agreed to resume diplomatic relations, following days of talks in Beijing.

“As both Saudi Arabia and Iran are central for the security of the region, the resumption of their bilateral relations can contribute to the stabilisation of the region as a whole,” Peter Stano, the European Commission's lead foreign affairs spokesman, said.

“Promoting peace and stability and achieving de-escalation of tensions in the broader Middle East are key priorities for the EU.

“The EU remains ready to engage with all actors in the region in a gradual and inclusive approach, and in full transparency.”

In the joint statement, Iran and Saudi Arabia thanked Oman and Iraq, which hosted several rounds of talks in Baghdad, for their efforts towards the two sides agreeing to restore diplomatic relations.

Riyadh cut ties with Tehran in 2016, after protesters invaded Saudi diplomatic posts in Iran following the execution of a prominent Shiite cleric in the kingdom.

Friday's breakthrough has raised hopes of progress towards resolving some of the Middle East's long-running crises — from the conflicts in Yemen and Syria to the economic collapse and political vacuum in Lebanon.

In Yemen, a Saudi-led coalition intervened at the request of the country's internationally recognised government in 2015, after Iran-backed Houthi rebels seized the capital Sanaa.

France also saluted the restoration of ties, saying it was in favour of dialogue, but urged Iran to “renounce its destabilising actions”.

Updated: March 11, 2023, 10:40 AM