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Iran-Saudi Arabia talks resume in Iraq

BAGHDAD (AFP) – Iran and Saudi Arabia have resumed key talks in the Iraqi capital Baghdad after negotiations were suspended last month, a senior Iraqi official said yesterday.

“Talks resumed last Thursday in Baghdad,” the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity, and without giving further details.

Iran’s Nour news agency confirmed a meeting attended by “senior officials from the secretariat of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council and the head of the Saudi intelligence service”.

The talks in Iraq – which borders both Iran and Saudi Arabia – are the fifth round of meetings in the country in the past year between Tehran and Riyadh aimed at restoring ties.

“It is expected that a joint meeting between the foreign ministers of the two countries will be held in the near future,” Nour said, describing what it called the “positive atmosphere of the recent meeting, which raised the hopes of a resumption of bilateral relations”.

In early March, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said his country and Iran were “neighbours forever”, and that it was “better for both of us to work it out and to look for ways in which we can coexist”.

The comments were welcomed by Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian. “We have different views and approaches on some issues in the region, but the management of differences by the sides can serve the interests of the two nations,” he said.