Iraq preparing to host 'public' meeting between Iran, Saudi foreign ministers

Iranian FM hoping new negotiations will lead to resumption of diplomatic ties

By Reuters

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Published: Sat 23 Jul 2022, 6:25 PM

Iraq said Saturday it was preparing to host a "public" meeting of the foreign ministers of Iran and Saudi Arabia as the two nations seek to mend ties.

Since April last year, Iraq has hosted five rounds of talks between Saudi Arabia and Iran, which support opposing sides in various conflicts around the region.

Those encounters were held privately and at a low level, involving security and intelligence officials.

But on Saturday, Iraqi Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein said his Iranian and Saudi counterparts would be meeting in Iraq at an undisclosed date.

"I contacted the foreign minister of Iran about this," Hussein said in an interview with Kurdish television channel Rudaw.

"We are preparing the meeting, trying to find the best time to invite the foreign ministers of Iran and Saudi Arabia," he said.

"It will be a public meeting, (unlike) previous encounters which were secret and were held between intelligence and security officials," Hussein added.

His comments came days after Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian told Iranian state television that his country and Saudi Arabia are ready to move reconciliation talks to a higher level.

Amir Abdollahian said on Thursday that "progress" had been made at previous rounds of talks between security officials hosted by Iraq.

He added that last week Iran had received a message from the Iraqi foreign minister who said "the Saudi side is ready to move the talks to the political and public level".

Amir-Abdollahian said Thursday he is hoping new negotiations will lead to the resumption of "normal diplomatic ties".

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