Iraqi PM, Saudi delegation discuss security cooperation between both countries

Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi meets a Saudi delegation led by Interior Minister Abdulaziz bin Saud bin Naif al-Saud in Baghdad, September 4, 2021.

SULAIMANI (ESTA) — Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi discussed with the Saudi interior minister security cooperation between Iraq and Saudi Arabia.

The prime minister met with a Saudi delegation led by interior minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Saud bin Naif al-Saud, who arrived in Baghdad on Saturday morning.

They discussed “security cooperation between Baghdad and Riyadh, and the importance of developing it,” the premier’s press office said in a statement.

They also discussed combating terrorism, controlling the borders between Iraq and Saudi Arabia and exchanging security expertise as part of security cooperation, it added.

The officials talked about “everything that would contribute to achieving security and stability of the two countries,” it stated.

In May, a Saudi delegation headed by deputy defense minister Prince Khalid bin Salman visited Iraq and held talks with senior Iraqi officials, in which Kadhimi ordered the security leaders in the Ministry of Defense to strengthen security cooperation with their Saudi counterparts in a way that serves the stability and security of the two countries, his office said.

Iraq, squeezed between Iran to the east and Saudi Arabia to the south, has been trying to establish itself as a mediator since the defeat of ISIS militants in late 2017.

The meeting came after Baghdad hosted talks between the kingdom and its regional rival Iran to discuss a thaw in relations.

On Aug. 31, Iran’s ambassador in Baghdad Iraj Masjedi said Iran was planning to hold a fourth round of talks with Saudi Arabia in Iraq.

“We have had three rounds of negotiations with the Saudi side, and the fourth round is to be held after the formation of a new Iranian government,” said Masjedi, according to semi-official news agency ISNA.

The announcement of plans for new talks came days after a regional summit held in Baghdad to help ease tensions among Iraq’s neighbors.

Iran and Saudi Arabia, leading Shia and Sunni Muslim powers in the Middle East, have been rivals for years, backing allies fighting proxy wars in Yemen, Syria and elsewhere. They cut diplomatic ties in 2016.

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