Iraqi delegation in Saudi Arabia for political, economic talks

An Iraqi delegation arrived in Riyadh on Sunday to discuss political and economic issues of mutual concern between the two countries, a Saudi Foreign Ministry spokesman said.

The meetings were headed by the Saudi Foreign Ministry undersecretary for political and economic affairs, Dr. Adel bin Siraj Mirdad, and the Iraqi Foreign Ministry undersecretary for bilateral affairs, Nazar bin Eisa Al-Khairallah.

The talks followed a visit on February 25 by Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir to Iraq, during which he met with Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi and Foreign Minister Ibrahim Al-Jaafari. Al-Jubeir then described his meeting with Al-Abadi as positive and fruitful.

Speaking to reporters after meeting Al-Jaafari, Al-Jubeir stated Riyadh’s willingness to help bridge the sectarian divide.

During the meeting, the two officials discussed issues of common interest in addition to means of enhancing bilateral relations. Al-Jaafari said: “The ties that bind are many, and the visit comes to restore bilateral relations to their correct course.”

“There are also many shared interests from fighting extremism and terrorism or opportunities for investment and trade between the two countries,” Al-Jubeir said.

The reopening of the Saudi Embassy in Baghdad, closed in 1990 after Iraq invaded Kuwait, was seen as heralding closer cooperation against Daesh, which is under attack in Mosul and has claimed bombings in Saudi Arabia.

Al-Jubeir’s visit to Baghdad was the first by a Saudi foreign minister since 1990.