Sunday 4 December 2016

How EU might have neutral role in easing old enmities

Published 09/01/2016 | 02:30

Saudi Arabia executed Shiite cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr and 46 others convicted of terror charges, the largest mass execution carried out by the kingdom since 1980. Photo: AP
Saudi Arabia executed Shiite cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr and 46 others convicted of terror charges, the largest mass execution carried out by the kingdom since 1980. Photo: AP

The clash between Saudi Arabia and Iran over the execution of a Saudi cleric of Shia Muslim faith, Nimr al-Nimr, and the occupation of the Saudi Embassy in Tehran in retaliation for that, is deeply worrying for many reasons.

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The two countries are supporting opposite sides in the Syrian Civil War, and the participation of both countries would be vital to any chance of the brokering of a truce in that long-running and deeply destructive war.

If the two states now have no diplomatic relations with one another, it is hard to see how they can contribute to the talks in Vienna aimed at ending the war. That is tragic.

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