Swiss embassies to enable contact between Iran, Saudi Arabia

Switzerland will facilitate diplomatic contact between Iran and Saudi Arabia via its embassies, the country's Foreign Ministry said Sunday in Bern.

The neutral European country will use its so-called protecting power mandate, a "go-between" function that allows Switzerland to take over some diplomatic duties of the politically-estranged countries.

The adoption of the mandate was announced after Foreign Minister Didier Burkhalter made a one-day visit to Riyadh.

Iran and Saudi Arabia broke off diplomatic relations at the beginning of January after Saudi Arabia's execution of a dissident Shiite cleric triggered outrage in Tehran and led protesters to storm the Saudi embassy.

Shiite Iran and the Sunni Saudi kingdom have long jockeyed for the dominant position in the Middle East through strategic alliances. In the ongoing Syrian conflict, Tehran supports the regime of President Bashar al-Assad, while Riyadh backs opposition rebel groups.

Last update: Sun, 14/02/2016 - 16:54

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