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Saudi king invites Iranian president to Riyadh – official – RT World News

The invitation comes days after China brokered a diplomatic deal between the two regional powers

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman has invited Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi to a meeting in Riyadh, Raisi’s deputy chief of staff announced on Sunday. Planning is also underway for a meeting between the two countries’ foreign ministers, after a China-brokered deal restored diplomatic ties after a seven-year hiatus.

Salman extended the invitation in a letter to Raisi, Deputy Chief of Staff Mohammad Jamshidi wrote on Twitter on Sunday. “Welcoming this invitation, the President stressed Iran’s willingness to strengthen cooperation,” Jamshidi added.

In a follow-up tweet in English, Jamshidi said Salman called Saudi Arabia and Iran “brother countries” in his letter.

Relations between the Sunni kingdom and the Shia republic broke down in 2016, after Iranian protesters stormed Saudi consulates following Riyadh’s execution of a Shia scholar. Since then, they have supported opposing sides in the civil wars in Yemen and Syria, while Iran supports the Hezbollah movement in Lebanon and Saudi Arabia sides with Israel against this group, which it considers as a terrorist organization.

However, Saudi Arabia and Iran announced last week that they would restore diplomatic relations and commit to “non-interference” in the internal affairs of the other, in the framework of a historic agreement brokered by Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Since the announcement of the China-brokered deal, preparations are underway to reopen embassies in Riyadh and Tehran, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian told official Tehran media on Sunday. Amirabdollahian said he would meet his Saudi counterpart, Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud, in the near future, without giving further details.

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