Saudi source: Iran sought talks with us before the Beijing agreement
The Iranians were seeking to hold meetings with senior Saudi officials well before concluding the historic agreement between the two countries, brokered by China, according to a well-informed Saudi source.
The source stated that Beijing helped Riyadh put pressure on the Iranian side during the negotiations.
After five days of marathon talks in the Chinese capital, Saudi Arabia and Iran agreed on March 10 to resume diplomatic relations severed in 2016 and to reopen their embassies within two months.
The Saudi negotiating team included representatives from the ministries of defense and foreign affairs, intelligence and state security, the Saudi source revealed on Thursday.
The Saudi-Iranian negotiations focused on three major points, the source pointed out.
Negotiations with Iran included respect for the sovereignty of states, the source said, explaining that Riyadh could cooperate with Tehran to serve both parties, Al-Arabiya.net reported.
China had a great interest in the stability and smoothness of trade and navigation in the Gulf, the source said while stressing that the Chinese role increased reassurance of Iran’s commitment to the agreement with Saudi Arabia as pointed out by The Wall Street Journal.
The source stated that Tehran’s approach to the conflict in Yemen would be a real test of its intentions, especially since it had agreed to stop arming the Houthis.
He also stressed the existence of a bilateral security and defense commitment with Iran not to attack each other militarily, or at security and intelligence levels.
The timing of agreement with Iran was not a surprise as far as Saudi Arabia is concerned, the source said while explaining that Riyadh had informed its allies, including the United States, before going to Beijing and signing the agreement with Iran. “We received the support and blessing of our allies to sign the agreement with Iran,” he said while reiterating that the Kingdom is not a party to the conflict between the West and China.
Regarding the details of the agreement, the source revealed “it is confidential and cannot be disclosed. A high-level tripartite committee will meet periodically to follow up on the implementation of the agreement.”
According to the source, a period of two months gives an opportunity to ascertain the seriousness on the part of Iranians. “Riyadh wants the Iranian people to experience the renaissance and development that their Saudi counterpart is experiencing,” he added.
Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan confirmed that the agreement to resume diplomatic relations does not mean the resolution of all the differences between the two parties. He made it clear that the agreement to restore relations confirms the common desire to resolve differences through dialogue.
After the agreement, a tripartite statement was issued by the three countries that included the provisions stipulated therein, including an affirmation of the sovereignty of each country and non-interference in internal affairs. There is also another provision in the agreement under which the Saudi and Iranian foreign ministers would hold a meeting to activate the arrangement for the exchange of ambassadors and to discuss ways to strengthen relations between them.
The meeting would also seek to activate the general agreement for cooperation in the field of economy, trade, investment, technology, science, culture, sports, and youth that was signed in 1998.