ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif arrived in Baghdad on Sunday as part of his four-day trip to Iraq and the Kurdistan Region.
The trip comes days after a surprise visit by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to the country where he met with top officials in Baghdad and Erbil.
The Iranian embassy in Baghdad said in a statement that Zarif’s delegation comprises of 30 officials and businesspersons.
“The purpose of his visit is to strengthen relations between Iran and the new government of Iraq, as well as the future government of the Kurdistan Region in order to develop economic ties,” Saadullah Masoudiyan, the Iranian Consul in Sulaimani province, told reporters in early January.
In Baghdad, the Iranian minister was received by the deputy to his Iraqi counterpart Nzar Khairullah, and later met with FM Mohammed al-Hakim. Later today, he is set to deliver a speech at a business-focused symposium in the capital which Iraq’s ministry of trade will host.
On Monday, Zarif is due to meet with Iraq’s Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi, President Barham Salih, and Parliament Speaker Mohamed al-Halbousi.
He will travel to Erbil on Tuesday and later to Sulaimani to meet with senior leaders in the Kurdistan Region. In Sulaimani, the FM will partake in a business conference where Iraqi, Kurdish, and Iranian businesspersons are expected to attend to strengthen trade.
Zarif’s trip will conclude on Thursday with a visit to Najaf. Before that, he is due for a stop in Karbala where a third business conference between Iraqi and Iranian investors is set to take place. He will return to Iran on the same day.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany