Saudi Arabia and Iraq are strengthening their co-operation and diplomatic relations, Al Jazeera reported. To mark the improving ties between two nations, Saudis have opened a consulate in Baghdad for the first time in nearly 30 years.
The consulate in Baghdad was opened Thursday inside the heavily fortified Green Zone, confirmed Iraqi Foreign Ministry spokesman Ahmad Sahhaf. In his speech, top Iraqi diplomate said the move is expected to benefit both states. At Baghdad International Airport, the seven-minister Saudi delegation was received by a number of Iraqi ministers and senior officials.
The recently-opened Saudi consulate will issue visas to Iraqis, the opening of the diplomatic institution is Riyadh’s wise move that seeks closer ties to Iraq in an effort to counter Iran’s growing regional influence.
The opening ceremony took place on Thursday, during a two-day visit by a Saudi delegation headed by the minister of commerce and investment, Majid bin Abdullah al-Qasabi. Iraq’s Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi is scheduled to visit Iran on Saturday and plans to visit Saudi Arabia later this month.
Iraq and Saudi Arabia are developing cooperation
Saudi Arabia reopened its embassy in Baghdad in 2015 following a 25-year break. In fact, the kingdom cut ties with Iraq when it invaded Kuwait in 1990 but since then, the situation in the region has changed a lot.
In 2019, Saudi Arabia will provide Iraq $1 billion to build a sports city, state television said on Wednesday at the start of a two-day visit to Iraq by high-level Saudi officials aimed at boosting ties.
A Saudi economic delegation that includes the energy and investment ministers arrived in Iraq on Wednesday for the second Saudi-Iraq coordination council meeting, an initiative launched in 2017 to upgrade diplomatic relations.
Mr al-Qasabi noted that 13 agreements were ready to be signed and that work on the Arar land border crossing linking Iraq and Saudi Arabia would be completed by the end of this year.