Jubeir in landmark Iraq visit

Jubeir in landmark Iraq visit

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir holds talks with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi in Baghdad on Saturday.
Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir holds talks with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi in Baghdad on Saturday.

BAGHDAD — Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir made a rare visit to Baghdad on Saturday, meeting Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi, the premier’s media office said.

It was the first visit of a senior Saudi minister since the US-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein in 2003, a spokesman for Iraq’s Foreign Ministry said.

Jubeir also met his Iraqi counterpart Ibrahim Al-Jaafari.

“This visit is to reestablish relations in a more stable way than previously,” a senior government official said. “It’s the first visit of its kind.”

Abadi, who has been at the helm since 2014, has supported efforts to improve bilateral ties.

Saudi Arabia reopened its embassy in Baghdad a year ago following a 25-year shutdown.

Thamer Al-Sabhan, whose credentials were received in January 2016, became the first Saudi ambassador to Iraq in a quarter century.

In October, Al-Sabhan was reassigned to Minister of State for Arabian Gulf Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Abdul Aziz Al-Shammari, the former military attaché in Germany, was named as the charge d’affairs in Iraq.

During the meeting, Al-Jubeir and Al-Abadi discussed issues of common interest and ways to further enhance bilateral relations. Al-Abadi also hosted a luncheon banquet in honor of Al-Jubeir.

Speaking to reporters, Al-Jubeir said his meeting with Al-Abadi was positive and fruitful. Expressing happiness over his visit to Iraq for the first time, the foreign minister said that there are many bonds that bind the Kingdom and Iraq. He congratulated Iraq on its achievements in countering terrorism, while reiterating the determination of both countries to eliminate the scourge of terrorism.

On his part, Al-Jaafari expressed hope that the visit of his Saudi counterpart would be a big push and a great step toward realizing the common interests of both the countries. Salim Al-Jabouri, speaker of Iraqi parliament, welcomed Al-Jubeir to Iraq, saying the visit would lead to further expand horizons of mutual cooperation and contribute to achieving security and stability in the region. — Agencies