The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and Iraqi Prime Minister Dr. Haider Al-Abadi inaugurated on Sunday the first meeting of Saudi-Iraqi Coordination Council at Al-Yamamah palace in the presence of United States Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
During the meeting, King Salman delivered a speech welcoming Abadi for accepting the Kingdom’s invitation to the first meeting of the Saudi-Iraqi Coordination Council.
He also thanked the Secretary of State for attending the meeting which, he said, “reflects the attention being paid by President Donald Trump and the American Administration to the common interests between the United States of America, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the sisterly Republic of Iraq.”
The new joint body aims at coordinating the two countries’ fight against ISIS and on rebuilding Iraqi territory wrested from the group, the Saudi King and Iraqi PM said in Riyadh on Sunday.
“We confront in our region serious challenges of extremism, terrorism and attempts to destabilize security and stability in our countries which necessitate our full coordination to confront these challenges,” King Salman asserted.
"The joint coordination council will not only lead to closer cooperation in the fight against ISIS, but will also help support the rehabilitation of facilities and infrastructure in the areas liberated," Tillerson told reporters, praising the accord between the two close US allies.
"The council will also contribute to reforms that will grow and diversify Iraq's private sector. Such reforms will encourage the foreign investment that is vital to Iraq's reconstruction efforts. This will be critical to winning the peace that has been earned through the hard-fought military gains."
The Saudi King also commended Iraq’s battle against the terrorist group, saying: “we congratulate our brothers in Iraq on the achievements made in eradicating and defeating terrorism, in which the coalition being led by the friendly United States of America participated as well as the Kingdom and sisterly and friendly countries are participating.”
Iraqi forces armed largely by the US ejected the ultra-hardline militant group from Mosul and other cities in northern Iraq this year, but the fighting left whole neighborhoods in ruins and has hit Iraq's economy.
The US is concerned that Iran will take advantage of gains against ISIS in Iraq and neighboring Syria to expand its influence, which is opposed by Gulf Arab states.
The King affirmed Saudi Arabia’s support for Iraq's unity and stability, hoping that differences in the country would be solved by Iraqis through dialogue and within the framework of the Iraqi constitution.
The King added: “Our presence today reflects the interest of all in this Council and the hopes we attach on it for developing and strengthening relations between our two peoples and sisterly countries in all fields. The great potentials available to our two countries provide us with a historic opportunity to build an effective partnership to achieve our common aspirations.
“What binds us to sisterly Iraq is not just neighborliness and common interests, but the ties of fraternity, blood, history and one destiny.
“We all look forward that the Council's meetings contribute to proceeding to further and broader prospects, and its works will be followed up by me personally and the Iraqi Prime Minister.”