ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubair said his country was “serious” about the reconstruction of Iraqi cities newly liberated from the Islamic State (IS), a statement issued by the Iraqi Foreign Ministry on Saturday said.
The remarks were made during a meeting between Jubair and his Iraqi counterpart Ibrahim al-Jaafari in Rome on the sidelines of the “Mediterranean Dialogue Forum Rome 2017,” the statement read.
“Saudi Arabia is serious about contributing to the reconstruction of Iraqi cities and increasing the volume of investment,” Jubair said, according to the Iraqi Foreign Ministry statement.
After battles against IS have ended in Iraq, the country’s officials say that rebuilding cities destroyed due to the war with the extremist group requires support from the international community.
Over three million people have been displaced by organized violence in the country and have been urged in the past three years to return to their homes, according to international humanitarian reports.
Jaafari said that Iraq “is now looking forward to brother and friendly countries to stand up and contribute to the reconstruction of the infrastructure of Iraqi cities.”
Iraqi government officials estimate reconstruction of Mosul alone, liberated in October 2016, could take at least five years and require billions of dollars.
Saudi-Iraqi relations have been closer since Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi took office in 2014, replacing Nuri al-Maliki whose relationship with Riyadh had been strained.
Moreover, Saudi Arabia reopened its embassy in Baghdad in late 2015 after it was shut down since the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990.
Jubair noted that his country was planning on opening two consulates in Najaf and Basra to “enhance cooperation between the two countries.”