"RIYADH, Saudi Arabia — Saudi Arabia and Iran have reached an agreement, facilitated by China, to re-establish diplomatic ties after a seven-year split, the countries said on Friday, in what could be a step toward realignment between often hostile regional rivals.
Saudi and Iranian officials announced the agreement after talks this week in China, which maintains close ties with both countries, in a joint statement published by the official Saudi Press Agency. Iran’s state news media also announced an agreement.
The two countries agreed to reactivate a lapsed security cooperation pact — a shift that comes after years of Iranian proxies targeting Saudi Arabia with missile and drone attacks — as well as older trade, investment and cultural accords.
Saudi Arabia and Iran will reopen embassies in each other’s countries within two months, and both states confirmed “their respect for the sovereignty of nations and noninterference in their internal affairs,” the statement said.
China’s role in hosting the talks that led to a breakthrough in a longstanding regional rivalry highlights the country’s growing economic and political importance in the Middle East, a region that was long shaped by the military and diplomatic involvement of the United States. Saudi and Iranian officials had engaged in several rounds of talks over the past two years, including in Iraq and Oman, without significant steps forward.
China’s top leader, Xi Jinping, visited Riyadh in December, a state visit celebrated by Saudi officials, who often complain that their American allies are pulling away from the region.
China’s most senior foreign policy official, Wang Yi, indicated in a statement on the Chinese foreign ministry website that Beijing had played an instrumental role in the agreement.
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