Israel-Gaza war: Saudi Arabia and Iraq discuss need to end conflict

Ministers address issues to help support regional security and stability

Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia Al Sudani meets Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan in Baghdad on Monday. SPA
Powered by automated translation

Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia Al Sudani met Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan on Monday in Baghdad and discussed a wide range of issues, including the escalation of violence between Gaza and Israel.

Saudi ambassador to Iraq Abdulaziz Al Shammari, and Abdulrahman bin Arkan Al Dawood, director general of the office of the minister of foreign affairs, also attended.

The ministers discussed ways to bolster and develop bilateral relations between their countries.

Prince Faisal conveyed greetings on behalf of King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to Iraq and its people. Mr Al Sudani reciprocated with similar greetings for the leadership of the kingdom.

The ministers also spoke about regional and international developments and discussed issues to help support regional security and stability.

Mr Al Sudani’s office said both sides discussed the “developments in the occupied Arab territories in Palestine and the consequences of these events on the Palestinian people”.

The bloody escalation entered its fourth day on Tuesday, with the death toll exceeding 1,600 and thousands more injured.

On Saturday, Hamas militants in Gaza launched Operation Al Aqsa Flood, the biggest attack on Israel in years. The surprise assault involved gunmen crossing the border from Gaza with a heavy barrage of rockets from the Palestinian enclave.

"Both sides discussed ways to unify stances and to end this strife as soon as possible," Farhad Alaaldin, foreign affairs adviser to Mr Al Sudani, told The National.

They also underlined the "firm stance towards the Palestinian cause" and the "legitimate right to have the Palestinian state", Mr Alaaldin said.

It is still unclear what role Baghdad can play in the Israel-Hamas conflict. However, Mr Alaaldin said "Iraq is playing a vital role in this regard", without elaborating.

On Monday, Iran-backed Shiite militias in Iraq warned the US they would target its assets in the region if it intervened directly.

Mr Al Sudani also “reaffirmed commitment to not allowing its territory to be used for attacks against any other nation”.

On Saturday, Saudi Arabia called for “an immediate halt to the escalation between the two sides, the protection of civilians, and restraint”.

Its statement said: “The Kingdom recalls its repeated warnings of the dangers of the explosion of the situation as a result of the continuation of the occupation, the deprivation of the Palestinian people of their legitimate rights.”

The Iraqi government's statement on Sunday said: “Iraq reiterates its steadfast stance, in support of the Palestinian cause. We stand with the Palestinian people in their efforts to realise their aspirations and attain their full legitimate rights. Sustainable peace cannot be achieved in the presence of injustice and the denial of these rights.”

The Iraqi government also warned of the crisis' potential to destabilise the entire region.

Prince Faisal was received at the airport by his Iraqi counterpart Fuad Hussein and deputy ministers on Monday.

In recent years, both countries have signed agreements related to politics and commerce, leading to the opening of a major border crossing at Arar.

In May, the Saudi Public Investment Fund, the kingdom's main sovereign wealth fund, announced a new unit to invest in industries across Iraq, with capital of $3 billion and its headquarters in Saudi Arabia.

Earlier this year, Safia Al Suhail, an Iraqi politician and former ambassador in Rome and Amman, made history as she became Iraq's first ever female ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

Both sides also discussed the maritime disputes between Iraq and Kuwait.

"The government is committed to UN resolutions and agreements and encourages resuming the work of the joint committees with Kuwait in order to find legal ways to solve the issue," Mr Alaaldin said.

Updated: October 12, 2023, 12:28 PM