Iran, S Arabia rapprochement in Iraq’s interest: al-Kadhimi

TEHRAN, Jul. 16 (MNA) – Iraq’s caretaker prime minister says it is in Iraq’s interest to keep pushing for a rapprochement between Iran and Saudi Arabia to ease regional tensions.

Speaking to The Associated Press Friday evening, Mustafa al-Kadhimi said Iraq intended to keep up its role in hosting talks between the two West Asian neighbors.

“Iraq contributed to the Saudi-Iranian rapprochement, and several sessions held were successful and fruitful, and a great rapprochement took place,” he said.

He added Iraq will continue to encourage dialogue between the two sides.

Al-Kadhimi spoke to the AP on the flight to the Red Sea port city of Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, where US President Joe Biden met with heads of state from six Arab Persian Gulf countries, plus Egypt, Jordan, and Iraq.

Iraq has hosted around five rounds of direct talks between Saudi and Iranian officials since Biden took office, though the talks have produced few results.

“We have seen positive reactions to the role played by Iraq by the Iranian and Saudi sides and also at the level of regional and international leaders,” al-Kadhimi said.

Asked about the normalization of ties between Israel and Persian Gulf states, al-Kadhimi said that did not involve Iraq nor would he express an opinion.

“Iraq believes in the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of countries and the non-interference of others in its affairs,” he said.

Each country has its own policy, he said, adding that Saturday’s summit in Jeddah was not concerned with this issue.

At his private meeting with Biden Saturday, al-Kadhimi said he will stress Iraq’s interest in continuing political, economic, and security cooperation between Iraq and the US in the context of the strategic agreement signed between the two countries.

At the summit, he said Iraq will address several files related to strengthening peace and security in the region as well as economic cooperation between the countries of the Middle East.

Among the ideas Iraq has been proposing is the establishment of a Middle East Development Bank, which al-Kadhimi said would contribute to building common ground for economic cooperation and financing major projects, especially in infrastructure.


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