Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal bin Abdulaziz attends the closing session of the 25th Arab League summit at the Bayan Palace in Kuwait City on March 26, 2014. AFP PHOTO/YASSER AL-ZAYYAT
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Saudi Arabia has invited Iran's foreign minister to visit, Riyadh said on Tuesday, hinting at the possibility of a thaw between two bitter rivals, whose struggle for influence is evident in conflicts throughout the region.Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has adopted a conciliatory tone towards Tehran's neighbours since taking office last year, but while Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has visited other Gulf Arab states, he has not yet been to Saudi Arabia. Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal told a news conference that Zarif had been given an invitation to the kingdom but that despite Iran's past declarations of a wish to improve ties, the visit had not transpired. He did not say when Riyadh issued the invitation or if Iran had formally responded. Sunni Muslim Saudi Arabia and Shi'ite Iran have long supported competing factions in Arab countries, often along sectarian lines.Abdullah placed Ahmadinejad at his right hand side while receiving leaders of other Muslim countries in an apparently emollient gesture aimed at showing Saudi Arabia wanted to reduce tensions with Iran and sectarian divisions in the region.
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