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Syria hails Tehran-Riyadh dialog as necessary for regional stability

Syria’s Foreign Minister Faisal Mikdad has welcomed the ongoing dialog between Iran and Saudi Arabia aimed at mending bilateral ties severed in 2016, stressing that the Tehran-Riyadh talks in Baghdad are key to the stability in the region.

“We call for deepening this dialogue and support it, and we wish that it yields results as the situation in the [Persian] Gulf region can’t be stabilized without an Iranian-Arab understanding,” Mikdad said during an interview with Russia’s RT television.

“Thus, we encourage all sides to continue to hold such meetings to reach solutions that serve regional cooperation and construction within the framework of relations based on respect for sovereignty and principles,” he added, according to Syria’s official news agency (SANA).

Saudi Arabia severed diplomatic relations with Iran in January 2016 after Iranian protesters, enraged by the Saudi execution of prominent Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr Baqir al-Nimr, stormed its embassy in Tehran.

For years, the kingdom pursued a confrontational foreign policy toward the Islamic Republic, but since last year, the kingdom appears to have changed tack.

The two Middle East heavyweights have held four rounds of talks since April, including a meeting last December under the Iranian administration of President Ebrahim Raeisi.

In an interview with Al Jazeera published on January 6, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said Tehran and Riyadh have so far held four rounds of “positive and constructive” talks in Iraq.

He expressed Tehran’s readiness to restore relations with Riyadh at any time, adding that Iran welcomes the reopening of the two sides’ embassies and consulates.

Commenting on the future of relations between Syria and some Arab states, Mikdad noted that there are many communications between Damascus and those nations with the aim of restoring ties that have been affected by the Syrian conflict and by the support given by some of those countries to terrorist groups fighting against the Damascus government.

“We are looking at the present and future with an eye full of optimism and we are happy with the visits made by some Arab delegations to Damascus and the visits we have made to some Arab states.”

He stressed that “We, as Arab countries, are concerned with reconciling things because this [conflict] would affect all of us.”

Since 2011, Syria has been gripped by foreign-backed militancy, leading to the emergence of Daesh and other terrorist groups in the Arab country.

Elsewhere in his remarks, the Syrian foreign minister noted that the intensity of the war on Syria has begun to decline due to the steadfastness of the Syrian army and the people’s support for their leadership, noting that Damascus is determined to end the presence of Turkish and American troops in some Syrian areas and to stop the plundering of Syrian wealth.

The US military has stationed forces and equipment in eastern and northeastern Syria, with the Pentagon claiming that the deployment is aimed at preventing the oilfields in the area from falling into the hands of Daesh terrorists. Damascus, however, says the unlawful deployment is meant to plunder the country’s resources.

Former US president Donald Trump admitted on several occasions that American forces were in Syria for its oil.

Turkey has also deployed forces in Syria in violation of the Arab country’s territorial integrity.

Ankara-backed militants were deployed to northeastern Syria in October 2019 after Turkish military forces launched a cross-border invasion in a declared attempt to push fighters of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) from border areas.

Ankara views the US-backed YPG as a terrorist organization tied to the homegrown Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has been seeking an autonomous Kurdish region in Turkey since 1984.

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