ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Saudi Arabia and Iraq have agreed to cooperate on security and intelligence matters, Saudi state television, Al-Arabiya, reported on Wednesday citing Iraqi Foreign Minister, Mohammed Ali al-Hakim, as saying.
The Saudi news outlet also reported that the country’s state-owned oil giant Aramco would help Iraqi federal government to explore the western desert of the country for gas, citing Iraqi Oil Minister Thamer Ghadhban.
The agreements between the two countries came one day after a high-level Iraqi delegation, headed by Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi, arrived in Riyadh on Wednesday and met with the Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz.
Abdul-Mahdi also met with Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman, on Thursday.
Trade and economic relations had been the prime subjects of the meetings between the top Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) oil producers.
The two countries signed 13 agreements in areas of 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 Nadia Riva