Swiss to represent Saudi Arabia in Iran after ties cut

AP News
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Posted: Feb 14, 2016 9:44 AM

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) — Saudi Arabia's foreign minister said Sunday that Switzerland has agreed to handle its diplomatic services in Iran so that Iranian pilgrims can continue to visit the oil-rich kingdom.

Saudi Arabia cut diplomatic ties with Iran last month after protesters outraged over the kingdom's execution of a prominent Shiite cleric set fire to the Saudi Embassy and another diplomatic mission.

Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said the Swiss would facilitate procedures for Iranian Muslims to visit Saudi Arabia for religious pilgrimages. He spoke during a visit by his Swiss counterpart, Didier Burkhalter.

The Swiss Embassy in Tehran already provides consular services to U.S. citizens in Iran in the absence of an American diplomatic mission there.

Switzerland has separately offered to represent Iranian interests in Saudi Arabia, Iran's semi-official ISNA news agency quoted Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Hossein Jaberi Ansari as saying. He said Switzerland is prepared to assume that role once consultations with Saudi Arabia are finalized.