Saudi Arabia and Iraq discuss security and counterterrorism

Kingdom's Interior Minister Prince Abdul Aziz holds talks with leading officials in Baghdad

Iraq's Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhemi received Minister of Interior Prince Abdulaziz Bin Saud Bin Naif in Baghdad on Saturday. SPA

Saudi Arabia's interior minister flew into Baghdad to discuss ways to combat terrorism and enhance border security with Iraqi officials.

Prince Abdul Aziz bin Saud bin Naif met several Iraqi officials, including Prime Minister Mustafa Al Kadhimi, Parliamentary Speaker Mohammed Al Halbousi and Iraqi Interior Minister Othman Al Ghanimi on Saturday.

The officials discussed ways to overcome challenges to regional security.

“We discussed bilateral relations and explored ways to strengthen them, as well as developing the continuing partnership between our countries in the security fields,” Prince Abdul Aziz said after meeting Mr Al Kadhimi.

The Iraqi prime minister’s office said: “Security co-operation between Baghdad and Riyadh was discussed, as well as the importance of developing it in various fields, especially combating terrorism, controlling the borders between the two countries, as well as exchanging security expertise.”

In October 2017, two months before Iraq declared victory over ISIS, the two countries established the Iraqi-Saudi Joint Co-ordination Council to help rebuild areas devastated by the militant group.

Saudi Arabia has previously said it was ready to work with Iraq and strengthen the “historic ties” between the two countries, to ensure the region’s security and prevent external interference.

Relations between Baghdad and Riyadh have improved in recent years, especially since Saudi Arabia reopened its embassy in Baghdad in 2016 after 25 years.

Until the reopening, consular services were unavailable in Iraq and Iraqis applying for visas had to go through the Saudi embassy in Jordan. The kingdom cut diplomatic ties with Iraq after it invaded Kuwait in 1990.

Last October, the two states reopened their major land border crossing, called Arar, that had also been closed for decades.

In war-torn Iraq, investment from the kingdom could be crucial for economic growth.

Prince Abdul Aziz said he had discussed ways to open up further opportunities with his Iraqi counterpart, Mr Al Ghanimi, “to safeguard the security of our two countries”.

Updated: September 05, 2021, 3:32 PM
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