Saudi Arabia opens Iraq embassy for first time in nearly 30 years

Two countries cut ties during invasion of Kuwait in 1990

Qassim Abdul-Zahra
Thursday 04 April 2019 16:56
Comments
Support free-thinking journalism and attend Independent events

Saudi Arabia reopened a consulate in Baghdad for the first time in nearly 30 years on Friday, a sign of improving ties between the two neighbours whose relations have been uneasy for years.

The consulate, which will issue visas to Iraqis, was opened at a ceremony in Baghdad’s heavily fortified Green Zone, during which Iraq’s Foreign Minister Mohamed Alhakim raised a green Saudi flag over the building.

Iraqi Foreign Ministry spokesman Ahmad Sahhaf said the move was expected to benefit both countries.

“This will reflect positively on pilgrims and investors,” he told The Associated Press. He said work was also underway to reopen border crossings between Iraq and its southern neighbour.

Iraq lies on the fault line between Shiite Iran and the mostly Sunni Arab world, and its relations with the Sunni kingdom have long been troubled.

Saudi Arabia cut ties with Iraq when it invaded Kuwait in 1990.

Diplomatic relations were resumed in 2015 when Riyadh sent an ambassador to Baghdad, and improved with the then-Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir’s visit in 2017, the first by a Saudi foreign minister since 1990.

But consulate services were not resumed and Iraqis applying for visas had to go through the Saudi embassy in Jordan.

Riyadh is now seeking closer ties to Iraq to counter Iran’s growing regional influence, while Baghdad seeks to attract Saudi investments to spur economic growth.

Thursday’s consulate ceremony came on the second day of a two-day visit by a delegation headed by the Saudi minister of commerce and investment, Majid bin Abdullah al-Qasabi.

The delegation met with Iraq’s prime minister, Adel Abdul-Mahdi, and held talks with Iraqi businessmen and senior Iraqi officials meant to boost relations between the two countries.

Al-Qasabi said three more consulates were expected to open in Iraqi cities.

Iraq’s Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi is visiting Iran on Saturday and plans to visit Saudi Arabia later this month during which a number of trade agreements are expected to be signed.

Associated Press

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in