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Iraq Denies Mediating between Saudi Arabia, Iran

Iraq Denies Mediating between Saudi Arabia, Iran

Tuesday, 20 November, 2018 - 08:15
Iraqi President Salih is welcomed by King Salman upon his arrival in Riyadh. (SPA)
Baghdad - Asharq Al-Awsat
Baghdad denied on Monday that President Barham Salih was carrying out a mediation between Saudi Arabia and Iran in wake of his recent visit to the Kingdom.

His office denied media claims of the alleged mediation, stressing that Iraq is a point of convergence of regional and Arab interests.

Foreign affairs committee member in the Iraqi parliament Iqbal Abdul Hussein told Asharq Al-Awsat that Salih’s visits are aimed at reassuring neighboring countries.

Dr. Bassel Hussein of the Iraqi center for strategic studies, said that Salih sought to pay visits to Arab and Gulf states to reassure skeptics that he was aligned to Iran.

His trips are a message that Iraq is keen on openness towards its Arab environment.

Political science professor at Baghdad University Khaled Abdulilah told Asharq Al-Awsat that Salih’s visit to Saudi Arabia is the beginning of a new chapter in ties between Riyadh and Baghdad.

Moreover, he noted that senior Saudi officials had paid visits to Iraq in recent months, including the energy, trade and economy ministers.

He added that the Kingdom appears prepared to assist Iraq in important economic and investment sectors.

Economic expert Bassem Antwan said that Iraq is in dire need of investments in various fields.

The development of Saudi-Iraqi ties in recent years demonstrates a willingness from both sides to push forward this issue, he told Asharq Al-Awsat.

The ball is now in the Iraqi court as Saudi Arabia has already expressed its openness to economic investment with Baghdad, he continued.

The prospects for development and investment cooperation with Saudi Arabia are very promising, he stressed.

Salih had paid a visit to Saudi Arabia on Sunday where he held talks with Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz. He later held talks with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense.

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