SAWT BEIRUT INTERNATIONAL

| 16 April 2024, Tuesday |

Saudi Arabia urges improved maritime security in Gulf as ties with Iran resume

Saudi Arabia wants improved marine security in the critical Gulf region as part of its reconciliation with long-time adversary Iran, Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan said on Saturday.

In March, Iran and Saudi Arabia agreed in an agreement brokered by China to end a diplomatic schism and rebuild relations after years of antagonism that had threatened regional security in the Gulf, Yemen, Syria, and Lebanon.

“I would like to refer to the importance of cooperation between the two countries on regional security, especially the security of maritime navigation… and the importance of cooperation among all regional countries to ensure that it is free of weapons of mass destruction,” Prince Faisal said.

Speaking after talks with his Iranian counterpart Hossein Amirabdollahian in Tehran, Prince Faisal also said the Saudi king and crown prince are looking forward to Iranian president Ebrahim Raisi “accepting the invitation to visit the Kingdom soon, God willing”.

Amirabdollahian told a televised joint media event that security was vital for regional countries.

“Iran has never equated security with militarism but sees it as a broad concept including political, cultural, social, economic and trade aspects,” he said.

The kingdom broke ties with Iran in 2016 after protesters attacked the Saudi embassy in Tehran in retaliation for Riyadh’s execution of a prominent Shiite cleric.

Tanker traffic through the Strait of Hormuz at the mouth of the Gulf – through which a fifth of the world’s oil passes – has become the focus for a standoff between Iran and the United States, which has increased its military presence in the region in recent years.

Iran has recently been trying to mend its strained ties with several Gulf Arab states.

Saudi Arabia’s rapprochement with Iran has left Israel largely alone as it has sought to isolate Iran diplomatically.

The United Arab Emirates, which was the first Gulf Arab country to sign a normalisation agreement with Israel in 2020, resumed formal relations with Iran last year.

Bahrain and Morocco later joined the UAE in establishing ties with Israel.

    Source:
  • Reuters