Palestinian foreign minister Al Maliki visits Baghdad to firm up regional support

The Palestinian Authority is rallying support following the devastating 11-day war between Israel and Hamas

Iraqi Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein, right, and his visiting Palestinian counterpart, Riyad Al Maliki, hold a news conference after their meeting in Baghdad, Iraq, on Sunday, May 23, 2021. AP Photo
Iraqi Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein, right, and his visiting Palestinian counterpart, Riyad Al Maliki, hold a news conference after their meeting in Baghdad, Iraq, on Sunday, May 23, 2021. AP Photo

Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad Al Maliki arrived in Baghdad on Sunday in his first visit to an Arab country after a ceasefire put an end to the war between Israel and Hamas fighters.

Mr Al Maliki is expected to meet Iraqi Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein as well as President Barham Salih, Prime Minister Mustafa Al Kadhimi and Parliament Speaker Mohammed Al Halbousi.

Meetings are also scheduled with Iraqi politicians, many of whom held rallies to support Palestinians during the 11-day war with Israel.

Palestinian Ambassador to Baghdad Ahmed Akal said his country sought to strengthen co-ordination with Iraq in the international arena.

“The primary goal of the visit is to co-ordinate for the post-ceasefire period,” Mr Akal told Iraqi state TV Al Iraqiya.

Mr Akal said Palestinian authorities would file a complaint against Israel at the International Criminal Court for the “killing of children, women and civilians as well as destroying the infrastructure and for sure we need the support of our Arab brothers, mainly Iraqis”.

Mr Al Maliki and Mr Hussein signed an agreement to boost joint co-operation in the fields of politics and diplomacy, the spokesman of the Palestinian embassy in Baghdad told The National.

“The devastation can’t be described and we seek all kinds of support from all Arab countries, including Iraq,” spokesman Fuad Hajo said.

The two countries will hold the first meeting of a joint ministerial committee, possibly scheduled for July in Ramallah, to discuss co-operation that could involve financial aid, Mr Hajo said.

Violence between Hamas and Israel escalated suddenly in the wake of tactics used by Israeli police against demonstrations at Al Aqsa Mosque, the third holiest site in Islam.

A planned eviction of Palestinian families from Sheik Jarrah neighbourhood in East Jerusalem also exacerbated tensions.

During the war, Israel launched hundreds of air strikes on militant targets in Gaza, while Hamas and other militants fired more than 4,000 rockets towards Israel.

More than 250 people were killed, the vast majority of them Palestinians.

Updated: May 23, 2021 07:43 PM

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