ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Iraq's ambassador in Riyadh said that Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi will visit Saudi Arabia in two weeks to attend the signing of 13 new agreements between the two countries.
According to comments Ambassador Qahtan Taha made while speaking to Baghdad Today earlier in the week, the new programs will "develop and reinforce relations between the two brotherly countries" and added that three of them were aimed at boosting oil sector cooperation.
"The Iraqi government offered 186 investment opportunities during the second session of the Saudi-Iraqi Coordination Council, which was held in Baghdad last week," he noted.
On April 4, a senior Saudi official announced that Iraq will receive a $1 billion loan for reconstruction efforts throughout the country as well as a sports city complex in Baghdad as a gift from Saudi Arabian King Salman bin Abdulaziz.
At the time, Saudi Arabian Trade and Investment Minister Majid al-Qassabi had just finished leading the high-level delegation to Baghdad mentioned by Taha.
Qassabi announced "the construction of a sport city complex for the people of Iraq as a gift from" Abdulaziz as well as "providing a loan from the Kingdom to Iraq amounting to one billion dollars to contribute to its development so the Kingdom becomes a key partner in the rebirth of Iraq," read a report from the official SPA news agency.
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 25 years.
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.
Minister Qassabi added that work at the Arar border crossing, which links Iraq to Saudi Arabia and has also been closed since 1990, will be completed "after six months from now."
To further establish itself throughout the country, according to reports in Iraqi media, Riyadh will open three additional consulates as well.