Saudi Arabia's decision to break off diplomatic ties with Iran will not affect its own efforts to secure peace in Syria and Yemen, the kingdom's ambassador to the United Nations, Abdallah Al-Mouallimi, said on Monday.
"From our side it should have no effect because we will continue to work very hard to support the peace efforts in Syria, in Yemen," he told reporters. "We will attend the next Syria talks and we're not going to boycott them because of Iran or anybody else for that matter."
"The Iranians, even before the break of diplomatic relations, have not been very supportive, have not been very positive in these peace efforts," he added. "I don't think the break in relations is going to dissuade them from such behavior."
The comments came amid escalating tensions after Saudi Arabia, which is predominantly Sunni, announced that it had executed 47 prisoners, including a prominent Shiite cleric, Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr. Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, declared that Saudis would face “Divine revenge” for their transgressions, and angry protesters stormed the country’s embassy in Tehran, lobbing Molotov cocktails and calling for “"Death to Al Saud."
Saudi Arabia withdrew its diplomats, and U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon pleaded with foreign ministers from both countries on Monday “to avoid any actions that could further exacerbate the situation,” according to a U.N. spokesman.
President Barack Obama has not addressed the issue directly, but White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said Monday that the U.S. is also “urging all sides to show restraint and to not further inflame tensions that are on quite vivid display in the region."
At the State Department, spokesman John Kirby added that “there is no reason why the Syria peace process shouldn't move forward as planned.”
Iran participated in that process for the first time last fall. Kirby said Monday that ceasefire talks between the Syrian regime and the opposition are expected to continue this month.