With China’s support, Saudi Arabia and Iran held talks in Beijing from March 6 to 10. On March 10, Saudi Arabia and Iran reached an agreement, and the three countries signed and released a joint statement announcing that Saudi Arabia and Iran agreed to resume diplomatic relations between them and carry out cooperation in various fields. On April 6, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Qin Gang witnessed the signing of a joint statement between Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud and Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian in Beijing. The two countries announced the resumption of diplomatic relations with immediate effect.
China’s successful mediation of the resumption of diplomatic relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran has been highly praised by the international community. Wang Di, Director-General of the Department of West Asian and North African affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, was interviewed by People’s Daily. He spoke about the background and process of China’s mediation to promote the resumption of Saudi Arabia-Iran diplomatic relations and what role China will play in the future Middle East.
Following is the full text of the interview:
Q: Saudi Arabia and Iran have resumed diplomatic relations. The international community highly praised China’s significant role in the resumption of diplomatic ties between the two countries. What is the background of China’s mediation efforts? Could you talk about the details of the mediation?
A: The Middle East has the most hotspot issues in the world. These hotspot issues have been around for a long time with various conflicts intertwined, making it very difficult to find a proper solution. Meanwhile, some major countries outside the region have been stirring up conflicts in this region and deliberately creating bloc confrontations for their own interests, resulting in long-term turbulence and great suffering of the people in the region.
Against this backdrop, it is the common aspiration of the people in this region to pursue peace and development and take control of their own future. Middle Eastern countries including Saudi Arabia and Iran have the will to resolve conflicts and contradictions through dialogue and consultation. They expect that responsible major countries will actively facilitate talks for peace to promote long-term stability in the region.
In December last year, President Xi Jinping paid a state visit to Saudi Arabia. In February this year, President Xi hosted Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi on his visit to China. During these visits, President Xi made personal efforts with the leaders of the two countries to support the development of good neighborly relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran. In the specific process of mediating the dialogue and promoting the resumption of diplomatic relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran, China has played an impartial, fair and balanced role as a reliable mediator.
As you may have noticed, at the closing meeting of the talks between the Saudi delegation and the Iranian delegation in Beijing on March 10, the seats of the Chinese, Saudi and Iranian delegations were arranged in an equilateral triangle, which reflects China’s consistent position of advocating equality and mutual respect between nations.
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