ERBIL, Iraq (Reuters) – Iraq will host a new round of talks between regional foes Iran and Saudi Arabia on Wednesday, the Foreign Ministry in Baghdad said on Saturday, without giving further details.
Iraqi Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein revealed the development during an address at a diplomatic forum in Antalya, on Turkey’s southern coast, as quoted by local media. A Foreign Office spokesman confirmed the comments to Reuters.
The talks will be Baghdad’s fourth round between officials from its two neighbors and mutual adversaries, according to local media.
The Saudi Foreign Ministry did not respond to request for comment.
Diplomats hope the opening of direct channels between Iran and Saudi Arabia will signal an easing of tensions in the Middle East after years of hostilities that have brought the region closer to full-scale conflict.
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On Friday, talks to revive the 2015 Iran nuclear deal were in danger of collapsing after a last-minute Russian demand forced world powers to suspend negotiations indefinitely despite a largely completed text.
Negotiators reached the final stages of 11 months of talks to reinstate the deal, which lifted sanctions on Iran in exchange for curbs on its nuclear program, long seen by the West as a cover to develop atomic bombs .
(Reporting by Amina Ismail; Additional reporting by Aziz El Yaakoubi; Writing by Moataz Mohamed; Editing by Mike Harrison)
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