Saudi FM: ‘We are open to dialogue with Iran’

March 9, 2023 - 2:44

TEHRAN - Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud has said that his country is “open” for talks with Iran.

"We are open to dialogue with Iran," Farhan said on Wednesday.

So far Iran and Saudi Arabia has held five rounds of talks with the mediation of Iraq.

Speaking to Saudi-owned broadcaster Al Arabiya, Farhan also stressed that the nuclear agreement with Iran is not ideal in its current form and that it must address the concerns of neighboring countries.

The deal Iran reached with the UK, China, France, Germany, Russia and the U.S. collapsed after Washington's unilateral withdrawal in 2018 under former U.S. President Donald Trump.

The Saudi foreign minister also said increased engagement with Syria might pave the way for its return to the Arab League as ties thaw after more than a decade of isolation.

Iran has welcomed gestures by the Arab countries to reopen ties with Syria.

Prince Farhan said consensus was building in the Arab world that isolating Syria was not working and that dialogue with Damascus was needed, particularly to address its humanitarian situation, though he said it was "too early to discuss" its return just yet.

"An engagement in order to address these concerns is necessary. And that may well lead eventually to Syria returning to the Arab League ... but for now, I think it's too early to discuss," he told reporters in London.

When Algeria hosted the first Arab League summit since 2019, Damascus stayed away after Algeria failed to persuade other Arab states to end Syria's suspension.

Saudi Arabia will host this year's Arab League summit. Asked whether Syria would be welcome, Farhan said: "I think it's too early to talk about that."

"But I can say that ... that there is a consensus building in the Arab world, that the status quo is not tenable. And that means we have to find a way to move beyond that status quo."

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