Baghdad (IraqiNews.com) Iraq has approved the opening of a Saudi consulate in Basra, the kingdom’s ambassador to Iraq was quoted saying on Wednesday.
Al-Riyadh newspaper quoted Saudi ambassador Abdul-Aziz al-Shamri saying that he had “received the approval from the Iraqi government”, adding that “a building for the consulate will be secured soon”.
“What we are more concerned about is developing relations between the two sister countries in all fields,” Shamri said.
Rushdi al-Aani, Iraq’s ambassador to Saudi Arabia, had told the newspaper earlier the Iraqi government had received an official Saudi request to open another consulate in the holy city of al-Najaf.
Relations between Sunni-ruled Saudi Arabia and the Shia-dominated Iraqi government have been tensional over the past few years due to Saudi Arabia’s opposition to the involvement of Iraqi Shia paramilitary forces in the fight against Islamic State militants. Saudi Arabia has always been irritated by the influence of Shia Iran, its arch regional enemy, over Iraqi politics.
But the past months have seen an obvious rapprochement between both countries, with top-level officials exchanging visits and expressing eagerness to boost political, security and economic cooperation.
In October, more than 60 Saudi companies attended the Baghdad International Exhibition.
In July, both countries established a joint coordination council to boost ties on all levels.