Iraqi-Saudi intelligence sharing to promote better relations with GCC

Saudi King Salman says ties with Baghdad are ‘historic’

Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman walks with Iraq's Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia April 17, 2019. Picture taken April 17, 2019. Bandar Algaloud/Courtesy of Saudi Royal Court/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY.
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Iraq signed an agreement with Saudi Arabia on Thursday to share security and intelligence, in a bid to improve ties with the GCC.

The announcement came during a state visit to Saudi Arabia by an Iraqi delegation led by Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi.

“Various memorandums of understandings will be drawn up between the two sides, which have been commitments announced by Saudi King Salman and the Iraqi Prime Minister,” Iraqi Foreign Minister Mohammed Al Hakim told Al Arabiya TV.

King Salman told Mr Abdul Mahdi that relations between Riyadh and Baghdad were historic.

Mr Abdul Mahdi also hailed the long ties between the two states and expressed his willingness to ensure that Iraq’s relationship with the GCC advances.

“The Gulf Co-operation Council is important to our country and our co-operation and economic ties must enhance,” he said during a meeting with the Secretary General of the GCC, Abdullatif Al Zayani.

“Iraq is keen to work within its Arab and Islamic neighbours, and to establish balanced relations that serve the interests of our citizens."

“It is not just important for the two countries but for the region as it will help promote greater stability and advance its economic well-being,” Mr Abdul Mahdi said.

He later met Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

“There is a shared determination to elevate the relationship between the two countries and to deepen co-operation in the political, security and economic fields,” Mr Abdul Mahdi said.

He said that Iraq would maintain strong ties with Iran, but also with the US and regional neighbours, many of whom consider Tehran a foe.

Meanwhile, leaders of the two states announced on Wednesday evening the signing of 13 agreements in areas such as trade, energy and political co-operation but did not give further details.

Mr Abdul Mahdi also inaugurated an exhibition on Wednesday, titled “Old Age Cities”, in Riyadh’s National Museum.

The initiative was arranged by the Saudi Minister of Culture, Prince Badr bin Abdullah.

The countries had historically been at loggerheads since the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990 but have recently undertaken a diplomatic push to improve ties.

Reconciliation between the two countries began in 2015, when Saudi Arabia reopened its embassy in Baghdad on April 4, after 25 years.

Consular services were not resumed until then and Iraqis applying for visas earlier had to go through the Saudi embassy in Jordan.

This month, the kingdom announced that it would fund the construction of a $1 billion (Dh3.67bn) sports city in Iraq.

Saudi Arabia also said it would open three more diplomatic missions in the country.

On April 3 a ministerial delegation led by the Saudi Minister of Commerce and Investment, Majid Al Qasabi, attended the second meeting of the Saudi-Iraqi Co-ordination Council in Baghdad.