Tuesday July 23, 2024

Pakistan welcomes restoration of Iran-Saudi ties

Government also commends China's role in facilitating historic "diplomatic breakthrough"

By Web Desk
March 11, 2023
Saudi Arabias Musaad bin Mohammed Al Aiban (left), China’s top diplomat Wang Yi and Irans Ali Shamkhani stand together in Beijing on Friday. — China Daily
Saudi Arabia's Musaad bin Mohammed Al Aiban (left), China’s top diplomat Wang Yi and Iran's Ali Shamkhani stand together in Beijing on Friday. — China Daily

Pakistan "warmly welcomed" the normalisation of diplomatic relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran facilitated by China, the Foreign Office said on Friday.

The two countries agreed to restore ties and reopen diplomatic missions in a surprise, Chinese-brokered announcement that could have wide-ranging implications across the Middle East.

In a trilateral statement, Iran and Saudi Arabia said they would reopen embassies and missions within two months and implement security and economic cooperation deals signed more than 20 years ago.

The FO, in a statement, said "Pakistan firmly believes that this important diplomatic breakthrough will contribute to peace and stability in the region and beyond".

The Pakistani government commended China's role in coordinating the historic agreement deeming its leadership visionary for the major feat which reflects the "power of constructive engagement and meaningful dialogue".

"We laud sagacious leadership of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Islamic Republic of Iran for this very positive development," the FO stated.

Pakistan said it will continue to play a constructive role in the Middle East and the region following its history of consistently supporting and coordinating efforts for bridging gaps between the two brotherly countries.

"We hope this positive step would define a template for regional cooperation and harmony," it further added.

Iran-Saudi ties major step for Middle East

Riyadh cut ties after Iranian protesters attacked Saudi diplomatic missions in 2016 following the Saudi execution of revered Iranian cleric Nimr al-Nimr — just one in a series of flashpoints between the two longstanding rivals.

Friday's announcement, which follows five days of previously unannounced talks in Beijing and several rounds of dialogue in Iraq and Oman, caps a broader realignment and efforts to ease tensions in the region.

"Following talks, the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia have agreed to resume diplomatic relations and reopen embassies and missions within two months," said the joint statement, which was published by both countries' official media.

The detente between the two Muslim nations has the potential to reshape relations across a region characterised by turbulence for decades.

Iran and Saudi Arabia support rival sides in several conflict zones including Yemen, where the Huthi rebels are backed by Tehran and Riyadh leads a military coalition supporting the government. The two sides also vie for influence in Syria, Lebanon and Iraq.

— Additional input from AFP