China’s Xi discusses support for Saudi-Iran dialogue with Crown Prince

Tehran and Riyadh agreed this month to resume diplomatic relations

Chinese President Xi Jinping and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. AFP
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China’s President Xi Jinping said on Tuesday his country is ready to support a follow-up process between Saudi Arabia and Iran after brokering a deal to restore diplomatic relations.

Mr Xi’s comments came in a phone call with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, state media CCTV reported.

The Crown Prince told Mr Xi of the importance of the strategic relations between the two countries and that he appreciated Chinese efforts to develop relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran, said the kingdom’s official state media SPA.

“During the call, they reviewed aspects of partnership between the kingdom and China, and joint co-ordination efforts to enhance co-operation between the two countries in various fields,” SPA said.

Mr Xi praised the kingdom's role in promoting the development of his country's relations with the GCC and wider Middle East, it said.

The Chinese President said his country and Saudi Arabia will make more contributions to promote peace, stability and development in the Middle East, state media said.

Tehran and Riyadh reached an agreement in early March to resume diplomatic relations after years of hostility.

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

The Beijing-brokered deal will see Riyadh and Tehran reopen their embassies and consulates within the next two months.

The two states will reactivate a 2001 security co-operation agreement and 1998 deals on the economy, trade, investment, technology, science, culture, sports and youth.

Experts predict that the new relations will change and reshape the region that has been dominated by instability and turbulence for years.

The development comes as Saudi Arabia Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan and Iranian counterpart Hossein Amirabdollahian held two phone calls this week and have agreed to meet.

The two discussed “a number of common issues”. The meeting came “in light of” the agreement brokered by China, SPA reported.

An exact date or place of the meeting has not been specified.

The meeting is intended to restore ties seven years after they were cut, Saudi officials said.

Updated: March 28, 2023, 6:27 AM