RIYADH, Saudi Arabia—Saudi Arabia and Iran agreed to restore flights between their countries and resume government and private-sector visits, after their top diplomats met in Beijing on Thursday as a thaw begins in one of the Middle East’s thorniest rivalries.
The summit comes weeks after the two governments agreed to re-establish diplomatic relations in a deal brokered by China, which ended seven years of estrangement and jolted the geopolitics of this oil-rich region.
A joint statement said Saudi Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud and Iran’s Hossein Amir-Abdollahian also agreed to begin preparations for reopening embassies and consulates, which were closed in 2016 after protesters angry at the kingdom’s execution of a prominent Shiite cleric attacked the Saudi Embassy in Tehran and its consulate in the city of Mashhad.
The foreign ministers met for just under an hour, according to Saudi state television, which broadcast a brief exchange they shared in front of reporters. After Mr. Amir-Abdollahian complained about the flight time between Beijing and Tehran, Prince Faisal responded: “The flight between Riyadh and Tehran only takes two hours.” Prince Faisal invited Mr. Amir-Abdollahian to visit Riyadh.