Iraqi PM says Iran-Saudi tensions near end

File – Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi (Photo: PM office)

SULAIMANI (ESTA) — Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi said on Saturday an end to years of tension between Saudi Arabia and Iran is near.

Iraq, a neighbor to both countries, has hosted five rounds of talks over the past year aimed at restoring ties between Sunni Muslim Saudi Arabia, and Shia-majority Iran.

Following the latest round in Baghdad, Iraqi officials have sounded increasingly optimistic, talking of an imminent sixth session and even going so far as to raise the prospect of a resumption in diplomatic relations severed in 2016.

“Our brothers in Saudi Arabia and the Islamic Republic of Iran approach the dialogue with a big responsibility as demanded by the current regional situation,” Kadhemi said in his interview with the state-owned Al-Sabah newspaper, according to AFP.

“We are convinced that reconciliation is near,” which would benefit regional stability, said Kadhemi, who Iraqi diplomats say attended the most recent meeting.

On Tuesday, the spokesman for Iraq’s Foreign Ministry, Ahmed al-Sahaf, said the talks “are continuing… and could perhaps lead to a restoration of diplomatic representation between Iran and Saudi Arabia”, state news agency INA reported.

Talks resumed on April 2021 between senior security officials from the two countries.

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