foreign minister hails 'new chapter' in Saudi ties: IRNA
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[September 22, 2014]
DUBAI (Reuters) - Iran and Saudi Arabia held their first foreign
minister-level meeting since the 2013 election of President Hassan
Rouhani, official Iranian media reported, signaling a possible thaw in
chilly ties between the rival Gulf powers.
Shi'ite Muslim Iran and the conservative Sunni kingdom have been
engaged in a bitter contest for influence in the region, evident in
political and military struggles in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Bahrain
Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif suggested after his meeting in
New York with his Saudi counterpart, Prince Saud al-Faisal, that the
talks could lead to an improvement in relations.
"Both my Saudi counterpart and I believe that this meeting will be
the first page of a new chapter in our two countries' relations,"
Iran's official IRNA news agency quoted Zarif as saying.
"We hope that this new chapter will be effective in establishing
regional and global peace and security and will safeguard the
interests of Muslim nations across the world."
IRNA reported that Prince Saud, in a reference to the advance of
Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, said he was aware of the
sensitivity of the situation.
"We are aware of the importance and sensitivity of this crisis and
the opportunity we have ahead of us. We believe that by using this
precious opportunity and avoid the mistakes of the past, we can deal
with this crisis successfully," he said.
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"These two countries are influential in the region and cooperation
between them will have clear effects on the establishment of
regional and global security."
(Reporting by William Maclean and Michelle Moghtader; Editing by Tom
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