Iraq on agenda as GCC foreign ministers meet in Riyadh

Fuad Hussein attends meeting to discuss Iraq's future after Baghdad conference

Iraq's Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein attended the Gulf Co-operation Council meeting in Riyadh on Thursday as the group discussed regional and international issues.

Mr Hussein said he was in Riyadh to "shed light on the future dimensions of the Baghdad Conference for Co-operation and Partnership" which was held last month with Arab leaders to discuss the future of the country, Iraq's state news agency INA reported.

The GCC's Ministerial Council meeting is being chaired by Bahrain's Foreign Minister Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani who formerly served as the group's secretary general for nine years.

Mr Al Zayani welcomed the Iraqi delegation in his opening statement, saying the GCC is keen to "reinforce strategic co-operation between the GCC and Iraq due to the close historic ties" between the nations.

The council supports Iraq's endeavours to maintain its sovereignty, security and stability and "to fight extremism, violence and terrorism in all its forms," he said.

Economic and trade relations between the Gulf nations are on the meeting's agenda as well as their investments in Iraq, INA said.

Mr Hussein will also look into means to supply his country with electricity through the Gulf's electrical grid and will meet several GCC ministers on the sidelines for bilateral talks.

At the start of the meeting, Bahrain's foreign minister stressed the importance of presenting a united front in combating the deadly coronavirus pandemic.

He said efforts are continuing to complete the requirements for launching the GCC Customs Union approved in the 2002 GCC summit.

On the international front, Mr Al Zayani said the wishes of the Afghan people must be respected while avoiding interventions in the country's internal affairs.

The ministers are also reviewing the progress of agreements made at the breakthrough GCC summit in Saudi Arabia's Al Ula in January, during which the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt revived diplomatic ties with Qatar after a dispute which lasted almost four years.

The four nations accused Doha of supporting militant groups, a claim that Qatar denies.

The rift ended after an agreement was reached to restore political, trade and travel links. Saudi Arabia was the first of the four countries to reopen its embassy in Doha in June.

Updated: September 16th 2021, 6:14 PM
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