PM Abadi visits Saudi Arabia Wednesday, Gulf crisis on agenda

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir (L) and Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi (R) during a meeting in Baghdad.

Baghdad ( Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi will visit Saudi Arabia on Wednesday for a meeting with King Salman bin Abdulaziz, an Iraqi diplomatic source said Monday.

DPA quoted the source saying that the agenda of talks will tackle a range of issues, most notably Gulf tensions resulting from a decision by Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and United Arab Emirates to cut ties with Qatar whom they accuse of financing terrorism and interfering in their domestic affairs.

Discussions will also shed light on developments on the Iraqi and Syrian arenas, as well as efforts to reinforce bilateral relations through a joint coordinating council, the source said.

Abadi said in statements a week ago that his country was not a party to the crisis with Qatar, adding that his country was anxious to maintain good relations with all sides of the crisis.

“A positive atmosphere is prevailing between both countries since a visit by Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir to Baghdad in February, and another more recent visit in May by Saudi energy minister Khaled al-Faleh which discussed  petroleum market prices. The same source said both the Iraqi and Saudi sides have exhibited eagerness to cooperate concerning issues related to regional terrorism and relations with Iran.

Relations had seen some tensions in December when Saudi Arabia labelled Iraqi, Iran-backed paramilitary forces, the Popular Mobilization, which fight Islamic State militants alongside the government, a “sectarian organization” that threatened Iraq’s unity.

Officials in the Shia-led government in Baghdad had also occasionally expressed readiness mediate for better relations between Saudi Arabia and its arch regional rival, Iran.




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