Middle East regional rivals Iran and Saudi Arabia have agreed to restore diplomatic relations, seven years after severing them in a bitter row.
The unexpected announcement came after four days of talks between officials from both sides in China.
Saudi Arabia cut ties in January 2016 after demonstrators stormed its embassy in Tehran following Riyadh’s execution of a prominent Shia Muslim cleric.
Saudi Arabia and Iran have also agreed to reopen their embassies and missions within a period not exceeding two months, and agreed to hold talks between foreign ministers to arrange for the exchange of ambassadors and explore ways to strengthen bilateral relations, it said.
The United Nations welcomed the Saudi-Iranian agreement to resume diplomatic relations and praised China’s role in the process.
“I want to welcome on behalf of the secretary-general the joint tripartite statement by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Islamic Republic of Iran and the People’s Republic of China, made today in Beijing announcing an agreement reached between Iran and Saudi Arabia to resume diplomatic relations within two months,” UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters at the daily press briefing.
“The secretary-general has expressed his appreciation to the People’s Republic of China for hosting these recent talks and for promoting dialogue between the two countries,” he said, while praising efforts by other countries, such as Oman and Iraq.
(Excerpts from Agencies)