Saudi Arabia and Iran plan bilateral talks

After holding a call on the first day of Ramadan, Saudi Arabia’s and Iran’s foreign ministers have agreed to hold bilateral talks on reopening embassies and consulates, Al Jazeera reports. The meeting is the next step in the formal restoration of diplomatic ties between the two regional rivals after an initial agreement, brokered by China.

Also announced this week was an agreement by Saudi Arabia and Syria to reopen embassies and consulates after cutting diplomatic ties over a decade ago due to Syria’s civil war, Reuters reports. Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad is a key regional ally of Iran, and the restoration of diplomatic relations is indicative of a broader engagement of rapprochement by Saudi Arabia and Iran.

There have been hopes that this easing of the rivalry between the two regional powers would reopen the possibility of long-term peace talks in Yemen, where Saudi and Iranian proxies have been fighting a bloody civil war that has given rise to a humanitarian crisis. However, renewed fighting in Yemen’s Madlib Province by Iran’s Houthi proxies casts doubt on that possibility.

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