Saudi Arabia and Iran have made “enough progress” in their talks aimed at restoring diplomatic relations, Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud said in an interview published on Saturday.
Bin Farhan told France 24 that the two regional powers have held four rounds of “exploratory” talks and that a new round would take place soon but it has not yet been scheduled.
“So far we have not reached any substantive conclusion in these talks but we have made enough progress that would allow us to move forward,” the top diplomat said.
He added that Saudi Arabia is “committed to a substantive discussion” that “would allow us to come to a normal relationship with our neighbor Iran”.
The talks in Baghdad, facilitated by Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi, remained secret until the Financial Times reported that the first meeting was held on April 9.
Iran confirmed in May that it was in talks with Saudi Arabia, saying it would do what it could to resolve issues between them.
Saudi Arabia severed relations with Iran in January 2016 after Iranian protesters, angered by the Saudi execution of a prominent Shia cleric, stormed its diplomatic missions in Tehran and Mashhad.
Asked if the two countries would reopen their consulates in the Saudi city of Jeddah and the Iranian city of Mashhad as a good will gesture, Bin Farhan said: “It could happen”.
“We will certainly consider all issues and proposals if they are tied to substantive progress,” he pointed out.
The Saudi minister said “an alignment of interest is possible” between Riyadh and Tehran but that “would require to address concerns”.
Good ties with Iran
Meanwhile, Jordan’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Ayman Safadi said that all Arab countries want good ties with Iran.
“All in the Arab world want good relations with Iran but, to achieve this, relations must be based on transparency and on the principles of good neighborliness and non-interference in internal affairs,” Safadi told the French news channel in a separate interview aired on Friday.
He noted that many issues in the region can be addressed through dialogue.
Safadi rejected any mediated talks between Jordan and Iran, saying, “We do not talk to anyone’s representatives, and when we talk to Iran, it would be directly with the Iranian government and through telephone calls of the two countries’ foreign ministers.”