Saudi Arabia to continue in Syria, Yemen peace talks despite break with Iran: envoy

UNITED NATIONS, Jan. 5 (Xinhua) — Saudi Arabia ambassador to the United Nations on Monday said his country will attend the upcoming Syrian and Yemen peace talks, despite its breakoff in diplomatic relations with Iran amid tensions over the Riyadh’s execution of an opposing Shiite cleric and the resulting attacks on Saudi diplomatic missions in Iran.

The disputes “should have no effect” on Riyadh’s participation in the talks expected to begin later this month, Ambassador Abdallah Al-Mouallimi told reporters at UN headquarters in New York.

Yet the ambassador stressed that Saudi Arabia still awaits the official condemnation by the Security Council of Iran for the attacks on the Saudi Arabian diplomatic posts in Tehran, in the wake of the execution by the Sunni-ruled Saudi Arabia of prominent Shiite cleric Nimr Al-Nimr among 46 convicted “terrorists”.

“We hope that the council would come out with a statement condemning the attacks on the embassy of Saudi Arabia in Tehran and the consulate of Saudi Arabia in Mashhad,” the ambassador said. “Those attacks were unprovoked and constituted very serious violations of international norms and laws and regulations.”

The ambassador mentioned that there were “wide-support from members of the council” for Saudi Arabia, which he expected could be translated into a statement blaming the attacks.

The Riyadh envoy also called on Tehran to “cease and desist” intervention in the internal affairs of countries in the Middle East. “We hope that Iran will take a more positive approach,” he said.

But after the blast, the ambassador held out an olive branch saying the two nations are “not naturally born enemies”, and that what separated them was “their interference” with other nations, in reference to Iran’s support for organizations in other countries, such as Hezbollah in Lebanon and the administration of President Bashar al-Assad in Syria.

Al-Moullimi said his nation had “nothing but respect” for Iran’s ancient culture, as the two countries live in the same region and share the same religion.

Late Saturday, angry Iranian protesters stormed the Saudi diplomatic mission to protest the execution of 47 individuals on terrorism charges, including a Saudi Shiite cleric, Namir al-Namir, a member of the Saudi Shiite community.

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