DUBAI, March 19 (Reuters) – The Iranian government has proposed to Saudi Arabia three locations for a meeting at foreign minister level, Iran’s foreign minister said on Sunday, citing the latest messages with Riyadh since the countries agreed to re-establish ties.

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian told a news conference in Tehran his country had agreed to such a meeting, although he did not list the three locations or say when such a meeting might take place.

Iran and Saudi Arabia, the region’s Shi’ite Muslim and Sunni powers, agreed on March 10 to re-establish relations and re-open embassies within two months after years of hostility.

The deal, brokered by China, was announced after four days of previously undisclosed talks in Beijing between top security officials from the two rival Middle Eastern powers.

Amirabdollahian also said Tehran was ready for the mutual reopening of embassies.

Saudi Arabia cut ties with Iran in 2016 after its embassy in Tehran was stormed during a dispute between the two countries over Riyadh’s execution of a Shi’ite Muslim cleric.

Amirabdollahian signalled Iran was also hoping for steps towards normalising ties with Bahrain, a close Saudi ally.

Manama had followed Riyadh in severing diplomatic ties with Iran in 2016. Bahrain, a Sunni Muslim-ruled monarchy with a majority Shi’ite population, has repeatedly accused Iran of fomenting unrest in the island state, a charge Tehran denies.

“An agreement was reached two months ago for Iranian and Bahraini technical delegations to visit the embassies of the two countries. We hope that some obstacles between Iran and Bahrain will be removed and we will take basic steps to reopen the embassies,” Amirabdollahian said.

Bahrain’s government communications office did not immediately respond to a Reuters’ request for comment.

Bahrain like other Gulf Arab states had welcomed the agreement between Riyadh and Tehran to restore relations.

Reporting by Dubai Newsroom
Editing by Tom Perry, Barbara Lewis and Raissa Kasolowsky

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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