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Riyadh Suggests Forming Joint Committee with Baghdad to Boost Relations - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English
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Interviews

Riyadh Suggests Forming Joint Committee with Baghdad to Boost Relations

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir speaks during a news conference. Reuters

Riyadh- Undersecretary of the Iraqi Ministry of Foreign Affairs for Bilateral Affairs Nizar bin Isa al-Khairallah said that Saudi Arabia suggested establishing a joint committee to serve as an umbrella for enhancing political, economic and social relations between the two countries.

Khairallah, who visited Riyadh on Sunday along with his accompanying delegation, said that his country welcomed this proposal.

The Iraqi delegation met with officials from the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs to follow up on issues of common interest in pursuance of the visit of Minister of Foreign Affairs Adel bin Ahmed al-Jubeir to Baghdad on February 25.

In an interview with Asharq Al-Awsat, Khairallah confirmed that talks between officials from the two countries were very frank as they both tried to figure out the best mechanisms to develop these relations.

He explained that connections now are made to build trust, which requires practical actions.

“Undoubtedly, visiting one another will play a significant role in creating a direct dialogue, mutual trust between the two countries and practical mechanisms for cooperation,” he told Asharq Al-Awsat.

Moreover, Khairallah pointed out that Jubeir’s visit to Baghdad was welcomed by the Iraqi government and community, taking into consideration that Saudi Arabia and Iraq are neighbors that share common interests and risks.

He said: “All Iraqis were feeling content following the Saudi Foreign Minister’s visit, and we considered it a visit from Jubeir to his second country.”

“The timing of the visit was very important,” he added, “it came in a decisive period in the region and in an important stage of combatting terrorism and challenges faced by Iraq and Saudi Arabia.”

He said that ISIS and other terrorist organizations constitute a real threat. So security and intelligence cooperation is required to fight them, and the real surprise was the Iraqi official content for Jubeir’s visit.

“We will discuss with Saudi officials prospects of joint cooperation.”

Khairallah said that his visit to Riyadh followed the directives of the Iraqi government to communicate with officials in Saudi Arabia.

“Our talks with officials from the Foreign Ministry were successful; we held talks to specify the priorities between the two neighboring countries.”

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