Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has emphasized the need for improvement of relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia, saying such rapprochement could help promote regional security. Addressing the “Mediterranean Dialogue” conference in Rome on Friday, Lavrov said close ties between Tehran and Riyadh are critical to defusing "profound dangers" in the Middle East. “In this context, building bridges between Saudi Arabia and Iran is of utmost importance, as is the goal of promoting confidence and security in the [Persian] Gulf region,” Lavrov said. The top Russian diplomat further called on world powers to set aside their differences and unite against terrorism. Elsewhere in his remarks, Lavrov took a swipe at the United States for not cooperating with Russia in its anti-terror campaign in Syria due to their disagreements over the fate of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad as part of a solution to the deadly crisis in Syria. He described as a “huge mistake” the West’s insistence on the ouster of Assad. “We believe his [Assad’s] fate can only be resolved by the Syrian people themselves,” he said. Lavrov’s comments come as international diplomatic efforts are underway to help end nearly five years of foreign-backed violence which has reportedly claimed over 250,000 in Syria since 2011. Two rounds of international talks, attended by Iran and Saudi Arabia, have been held on the Syrian issue in Vienna, Austria, on October 30 and November 14. The UN has said a third meeting is likely to be held in New York on December 18. However, the negotiating parties remain at loggerheads over a number of issues, including the role of Assad in Syria’s future as well as the lists of real Syrian opposition and the groups that should be designated as terrorists. Iran and Saudi Arabia have adopted different stances on the developments in the Middle East, particularly the situation in Syria. The Islamic Republic supports the Syrian government, calling for a political settlement. Saudi Arabia is a major backer of the Takfiri terror groups operating to topple the Damascus government over the past years.