Saudi-Iran rapprochement visible in Sudan evacuation effort

Published May 1, 2023
Iran’s chargé d’affaires to Saudi Arabia (L) visits a naval base at Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. — Photo courtesy Al Ekhbariya TV
Iran’s chargé d’affaires to Saudi Arabia (L) visits a naval base at Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. — Photo courtesy Al Ekhbariya TV

The growing rapprochement between Riyadh and Tehran after years of mistrust was visible on Monday as Saudi Arabia helped evacuate Iranian citizens fleeing the war in Sudan.

The Saudi navy carried the 65 Iranian citizens from Port Sudan to Jeddah and they will fly onwards to Tehran.

Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Nasser Kanaani called the transfer “a positive event” that had taken place thanks to Saudi-Iranian cooperation.

Ahmed al-Dabais, a senior Saudi military officer handling the operation, told Iranian evacuees that the two countries were good friends and brothers and they should regard the kingdom as their own country, in a video carried by local television.

Saudi Arabia, across the Red Sea from Sudan, has been a major hub for the evacuation effort as countries have worked to pull thousands of foreign citizens out of the conflict that suddenly erupted on April 15.

Shia Iran and Sunni Saudi Arabia had feuded for years, backing opposing sides in wars and political struggles across the Middle East in a tussle for influence that fed conflicts and inflamed sectarian hatred.

Saudi Arabia cut off diplomatic relations in 2016 after Iranian protesters stormed the kingdom’s Tehran embassy following Riyadh’s execution of a Shia cleric.

However, the two major oil producers agreed to end their rift and reopen diplomatic missions in a deal brokered in March by China.

Opinion

Editorial

By-election trends
Updated 23 Apr, 2024

By-election trends

Unless the culture of violence and rigging is rooted out, the credibility of the electoral process in Pakistan will continue to remain under a cloud.
Privatising PIA
23 Apr, 2024

Privatising PIA

FINANCE Minister Muhammad Aurangzeb’s reaffirmation that the process of disinvestment of the loss-making national...
Suffering in captivity
23 Apr, 2024

Suffering in captivity

YET another animal — a lioness — is critically ill at the Karachi Zoo. The feline, emaciated and barely able to...
Not without reform
Updated 22 Apr, 2024

Not without reform

The problem with us is that our ruling elite is still trying to find a way around the tough reforms that will hit their privileges.
Raisi’s visit
22 Apr, 2024

Raisi’s visit

IRANIAN President Ebrahim Raisi, who begins his three-day trip to Pakistan today, will be visiting the country ...
Janus-faced
22 Apr, 2024

Janus-faced

THE US has done it again. While officially insisting it is committed to a peaceful resolution to the...