Iran eyes regional initiative in top diplomat’s four-nation tour


TEHERAN — Iran has promoted a regional dialogue and cooperation forum during a four-country tour by Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian as he met with top officials in neighbouring Arab countries.

Amirabdollahian visited Qatar, Oman, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), between June 19 and late on Thursday.

The Iranian top diplomat welcomed a proposal by United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to convene an eight-country regional forum in New York in September.

The forum would include Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Qatar, Oman, Kuwait and Bahrain and is envisaged to continue its work beyond the UN General Assembly gathering, Amirabdollahian suggested.

“We agreed with top officials and my counterparts in the four countries to take the secretary-general’s initiative as a good omen and engage in more effective measures to follow up on initiatives within this new framework.”

Still under tough United States sanctions imposed since 2018 after Washington unilaterally withdrew from Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, Tehran has been pursuing a policy of improving ties, especially economic relations, across the region.

In Doha, Amirabdollahian met Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani and Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al Thani, while in Muscat he sat down with Mohammed Abdulsalam, the chief negotiator of the Iran-backed Houthi movement in Yemen, at the Iranian embassy.

A truce and engagement with the Saudi-backed Yemeni government is holding following the rapprochement between Tehran and Riyadh after a China-brokered agreement in March that has seen the two regional heavyweights restore diplomatic relations after seven years.

Trade and investments were a key focus of Amirabdollahian’s as a way to bolster bilateral ties and security across the region when he met with Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud in Tehran last week, as the longtime rivals seek to end a diplomatic rift.

Source: Aljazeera

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