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                                        Volume. 11986

U.S. says delighted with Saudi Arabia inviting Iranian FM
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c_330_235_16777215_0___images_stories_edim_02_at2(124).jpgTEHRAN - The United States says it is delighted with the fact that Saudi Arabia has invited the Iranian foreign minister to visit Riyadh for talks.
 
“We encourage it, we welcome it,” U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said during a press conference in Washington on Tuesday.  
 
“The United States did not have anything to do with this invitation, but we’re delighted to see our good friends, the Saudis, engaged in diplomacy that may or may not be able to add to any number of different possibilities in the region,” Kerry noted.
 
“They have a longstanding difficulty in that relationship, but it is completely in keeping with their prerogatives to be able to reach out and engage,” he added. 
 
Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal said on Tuesday the kingdom was ready to host Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif “anytime he sees fit.” 
 
“Iran is a neighbor, we have relations with them and we will negotiate with them,” the Saudi minister said.
 
“We will talk with them in the hope that if there are any differences, they will be settled to the satisfaction of both countries,” he told reporters.
 
Zarif has visited most of Saudi Arabia’s Persian Gulf Arab allies including Kuwait, Qatar, Oman and the United Arab Emirates, but has not been to Riyadh.
 
The Iranian foreign minister said in December that he would like to visit Riyadh and appealed to the kingdom to work with Tehran in the search for regional “stability.”
 

Tehran says no written invitation yet from Riyadh
 
Also on Wednesday, an Iranian foreign ministry official said that Tehran welcomes the initiative though it has not received a written invitation yet. 
 
In an interview with IRNA on Wednesday, Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said that a meeting between the foreign ministers of the two countries is on the Islamic Republic’s agenda. 
 
“We welcome negotiations and meetings in efforts to help resolve regional problems, clarify misunderstandings, and further expand bilateral ties,” he noted. 
 
MT/PA

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