Emmanuel Macron arrives in Erbil after attending conference in Baghdad

The French leader described the summit as historic, showcasing Iraq’s return to stability

Kurdish President Nechirvan Barzani, left, receives French President Emmanuel Macron in Erbil. Photo: AP
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French President Emmanuel Macron arrived in Erbil in Iraq early on Sunday morning.

He was received by Kurdistan Region President Nechirvan Barzani, AP reported.

Mr Macron was in the country to attend the Baghdad Conference for Co-operation and Partnership, which France helped organised with Iraq.

Countries taking part in the conference included the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Kuwait, Qatar and Iran.

The French leader described Saturday’s summit meeting as historic, showcasing Iraq’s return to stability after the war against ISIS, which was defeated in 2017.

After decades of conflict, Iraq is seeking to reclaim a leadership role and status in the Arab world with a centrist policy and a determination among the country’s top leaders to maintain good relations with the US and its regional allies and also Iran.

Gulf Arab and Iranian officials met in Baghdad on Saturday on the sidelines of the summit that Iraq hoped would encourage its neighbours to talk to each other.

The meetings took place months after Saudi Arabia and Iran resumed direct talks in Iraq that have achieved no breakthrough but have helped offset escalating tension in the Middle East, Reuters reported.

Iraq's security has improved in recent years but it is still plagued by big power rivalries, rampant corruption among its own politicians and heavily armed militias.

Competition for influence in the Middle East between the US and Iran has made Iraq the scene of attacks against US forces and assassinations of Iranian and Iraqi paramilitary leaders.

Updated: August 29, 2021, 9:59 AM