Iraq and UAE discuss joint parliamentary committee

Mohammed Al Halbousi seeks 'parliamentary friendship' during Abu Dhabi trip

The UAE and Iraq have discussed the possibility of establishing a joint parliamentary committee to enhance relations, according to state news agency Wam.

Iraq’s Parliamentary Speaker Mohammed Al Halbousi arrived in the UAE capital, Abu Dhabi, on Saturday and met the UAE’s Federal National Council Speaker, Saqr Ghobash, and other prominent officials on Sunday.

The officials, according to Wam, discussed “ways of bolstering parliamentary friendship and co-operation and co-ordinating stances and consultations towards regional and international issues of mutual interest”.

“The two sides stressed the importance of establishing a joint parliamentary committee to serve Arab and Islamic issues, and to rally support for issues of top priorities at international parliamentary gatherings,” it said.

The committee would strengthen relations between the two states in several areas such as the “exchange of expertise, knowledge and best practices to serve parliamentary diplomacy and promote parliamentary legislative and supervisory frameworks”.

Mr Ghobash extended an invitation to Mr Al Halbousi to visit Expo 2020 Dubai.

On Monday, Mr Al Halbousi met Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, in the UAE capital.

"During the meeting, His Highness and His Excellency Mohammed Al Halbousi discussed the brotherly relations between the two brotherly countries and ways of developing cooperation and joint coordination, especially in the parliamentary fields," said a statement by Wam.

Mr Al Halbousi also visited Sheikh Zayed Mosque during his visit to the capital.

Relations between the UAE and Iraq have grown stronger in recent years. Prime Minister Mustafa Al Kadhimi visited the UAE in April accompanied by a delegation of ministers.

Mr Al Kadhimi at the time said his visit was to to enhance Iraq’s regional and international relations as well as to strengthen ties with the UAE.

In August, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, the UAE's Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, visited Baghdad for a regional summit aimed at enhancing security and peace.

Sheikh Mohammed said on Twitter that the summit represented Baghdad's revival of its "regional and global position" and a return to "writing a new story in the march of civilisation".

In recent years, Baghdad has sought to revive its economy and rally support for much-needed reconstruction and the improvement of public services, after decades of sanctions and conflict.

Iraq's outreach to Gulf states has led to some notable developments, including improved relations with Saudi Arabia, which have led to high-level diplomatic meetings in Baghdad and Riyadh for the first time in decades.

Saudi Arabia has sought to strengthen relations with Iraq to offset Iran’s ability to dictate Baghdad’s internal policies.

For years Baghdad has found itself caught in the crossfire between Washington and Tehran – a difficult position recently complicated by US sanctions on Iran and Baghdad's co-operation with Washington against ISIS.

Tehran’s sway over Baghdad dates back more than a decade, to the aftermath of the US-led invasion, when dictator Saddam Hussein was toppled in 2003.

Updated: September 27th 2021, 3:56 PM