According to the agreement released by the three countries, Iran and Saudi Arabia affirmed non-interference in the internal affairs of other states, the Wall Street Journal reported.
The statement reads: “In response to the noble initiative of His Excellency President Xi Jinping, President of the People’s Republic of China, of China’s support for developing good neighborly relations between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Islamic Republic of Iran.”
It adds: “And, based on the agreement between His Excellency President Xi Jinping and the leaderships in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and the Islamic Republic of Iran, whereby the People’s Republic of China would host and sponsor talks between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Islamic Republic of Iran; Proceeding from their shared desire to resolve the disagreements between them through dialogue and diplomacy, and in light of their brotherly ties.”
The delegations from the two countries held talks between March 6 and 10 in the Chinese capital of Beijing.
The Saudi Arabia delegation was headed by Musaad bin Mohammed Al-Aiban, who is the minister of state, member of the council of ministers, and national security advisor. The Iranian delegation was headed by Admiral Ali Shamkhani, secretary of the Supreme National Security Council of the country.
As per the trilateral statement, “The Saudi and Iranian sides expressed their appreciation and gratitude to the Republic of Iraq and the Sultanate of Oman for hosting rounds of dialogue that took place between both sides during the years 2021-2022. The two sides also expressed their appreciation and gratitude to the leadership and government of the People’s Republic of China for hosting and sponsoring the talks, and the efforts it placed towards its success.”
Saudi Arabia and Iran have backed opposing sides in regional conflicts and political disputes in Syria, Lebanon and Iraq for years, The Guardian reported. A coalition led by Saudi Arabia has waged war against the Iran-aligned Houthi movement in Yemen since 2015. This, per the BBC, is in part to stem perceived Iranian influence there, however, it’s proving to be a costly gamble.
Saudi and US officials have accused Iran of smuggling weapons such as drones to the Houthis, in violation of a UN arms embargo. Iran has denied the allegation.
Saudi Arabia cut diplomatic ties with Iran in 2016, after Iranian protesters stormed the Saudi embassy in Tehran in response to Saudi authorities executing 47 dissidents, including a leading Shia cleric.
The decades-old feud between the two nations is exacerbated by religious differences. They each follow one of the two main branches of Islam – Iran is largely Shia Muslim, while Saudi Arabia sees itself as the leading Sunni Muslim power, BBC reported.