BEIRUT: Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian on Friday expressed hope that diplomatic ties between Tehran and Riyadh can be restored through dialogue between the two regional powers.

Speaking on a visit to Lebanon, Amir-Abdollahian said he hoped diplomatic missions or embassies in Tehran and Riyadh will reopen within the framework of dialogue that should continue between the two countries.

He also hailed a potential rapprochement between Iranian ally Syria and Turkiye, after their defence ministers met last month.

Since April 2021, Iraq has hosted a series of fence-mending meetings between the two countries, but the talks have stalled in recent months, and no meetings have been publicly announced since April 2022.

Syria’s pro-government Al-Watan newspaper said Amir-Abdollahian was also set to visit Damascus on Saturday, at a time of warming ties between Syria and Turkiye.

“We are happy with this dialogue that is taking place between Syria and Turkiye,” he told a news conference in Beirut on Friday.

“We believe that this dialogue should have positive repercussions benefitting these two countries.”

Ankara had long backed rebels opposed to Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad’s rule, but after over a decade of war that has seen the government claw back territory with Russian and Iranian support, ties between the two countries have begun to thaw.

In late December, the defence ministers of Turkiye and Syria held landmark negotiations in Moscow.

Assad had said on Thursday that a Moscow-brokered rapprochement with Turkiye should aim for the end of occupation by Ankara of parts of Syria.

Published in Dawn, January 14th, 2023

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