Iraqi president calls for strong Saudi ties


By Khaled Tashkandi

Okaz/Saudi Gazette

BAGHDAD – Iraqi President Fuad Masum has emphasized the strong brotherly relations between Saudi Arabia and his country. “The Saudi-Iraqi relations are based on a strong foundation,” he said while commending the Kingdom’s important position in the Islamic World.

The president also noted Iraq’s cultural and historical importance and stressed his country’s desire to strengthen bilateral relations in various fields. “We are making speedy steps toward bolstering Saudi relations,” he said while receiving the Saudi media delegation on Sunday.

Saudi Ambassador to Iraq Abdul Aziz Al-Shammari attended the meeting.

“My first foreign visit after becoming the president was to Saudi Arabia and this reflects our strong relations,” he told Saudi editors-in-chief and senior reporters.

Masum said Iraq would play an active role to resolve conflicts. “We’ll not become a party of regional conflicts,” he said and rejected foreign intervention in the affairs of the region’s countries.

He said Baghdad would work to bring viewpoints closer toward solving regional conflicts.

“Iraq always wanted to work for strengthening peaceful ties and cooperation between brotherly and friendly countries and promoting security, stability and progress in the region,” he added.

Masum commended Saudi Arabia’s positive stances on regional issues and its continuous support for Iraq and its people. “We’ll never forget this support,” he added.

The president also praised Kuwait for its support during the conference it hosted to reconstruct Iraqi cities liberated from Daesh (the so-called IS) terror group. “The Iraqis will not forget this noble Kuwaiti stand.”

Masum also spoke about the Iraqi economy and investment opportunities in his country.

“Iraq is well prepared to welcome investment companies and capital funds to reconstruct the country after defeating the terrorist group and restoring the country’s security and stability.

“The Iraqi government has enacted a number of rules and regulations to protect and encourage investment and capital funds,” the president said.

He also highlighted the important role of public media and urged media organizations to carry out their mission with professionalism and trust. “We want the media to play its role with freedom and responsibility to reduce tension and bolster security in the region,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Saudi media delegation visited the Iraqi Journalists Syndicate where Moaid Allami, president of the organization, briefed the Saudi side on the organization’s activities and programs and its effective role in promoting professionalism.

“Being the fourth estate our organization plays an influential role in various fields,” Allami said. The syndicate keeps records of Iraqi journalists including those who were martyred while on duty. It also uses modern information technology for recording and filing.

Khaled Al-Malik, president of the Saudi Journalists’ Association, thanked the syndicate for the warm welcome it accorded to his delegation. “Our visit is significant as it aims to know how Iraq emerged as a secure and stable country after obliterating Daesh terrorists.”

He appreciated the Iraqi leaders’ strong desire to strengthen Saudi relations. He commended the Iraqi journalists’ professionalism and their efforts to promote peace and combat terrorism.

The Saudi delegation met with the Iraqi Labor and Industry Minister Mohammed Shia Al-Sudani and discussed investment incentives offered by Iraq and prospects of expanding industrial and economic cooperation between the two countries.

The delegation also held talks with Interior Minister Qasim Al-Araji, who accompanied the Saudis while visiting Baghdad. He spoke about the encouraging security situation in the Iraqi capital.