King Fahd of Saudi Arabia received a senior Soviet official in the first such meeting since the two sides suspended diplomatic ties 50 years ago, Arab diplomats said Tuesday.

The diplomats described the meeting late Monday as a "major breakthrough" in Kremlin ties with the staunchly conservative kingdom, saying it paved the way for an eventual restoration of ties.First Deputy Soviet Foreign Minister Yuli Vorontov met King Fahd after arriving in Riyadh from the Red Sea summer resort of Taif, where he had held two days of talks with Afghan rebel leaders.