ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi on Wednesday landed in Riyadh in his first visit to Saudi Arabia since taking office six months ago, meeting King Salman bin Abdulaziz and signing 13 agreements.
Abdul-Mahdi said his country would maintain strong relations with neighboring nations regardless of hostilities between regional states like Iran and Saudi Arabia.
The Iraqi prime minister headed a large delegation, including ministers and businessmen, to Riyadh with trade and economic relations being the prime subjects of the meeting between the top OPEC oil producers.
Both sides signed 13 agreements in areas such as trade, energy, and political cooperation, according to Abdul-Mahdi’s press office.
Diplomatic relations between the two countries broke down in 1990 following Baghdad’s brazen invasion of Kuwait. The resumption of formal ties between Saudi Arabia and Iraq dates back to 2015 when Riyadh reopened its embassy in Baghdad, which had been shuttered for decades.
In June 2017, Iraq and Saudi Arabia agreed to set up a coordination council in efforts to further cement ties as the latter seeks to counteract Iranian influence in the former.
Baghdad has long claimed it seeks good relations with all countries, but Tehran’s sway over internal politics has been most palpable with its direct support for senior politicians and militias.
Abdul-Mahdi recently visited Tehran and met with President Hassan Rouhani and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Earlier this month, Saudi Arabia reopened a consulate in Baghdad to issue visas to Iraqi citizens. King Salman also said his country would provide Iraq $1 billion to build sports facilities, an announcement which kicked off a two-day visit to Iraq by high-level Saudi officials.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany