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Saudi-Iraqi Agreement to Operate Arar Crossing Next Month For Commercial Purposes

Saudi-Iraqi Agreement to Operate Arar Crossing Next Month For Commercial Purposes

Friday, 13 September, 2019 - 09:00
A member from the Iraqi security forces stands guard at a checkpoint during a patrol at the border between Iraq and Saudi Arabia, February 17, 2016. REUTERS/Alaa Al-Marjani

Iraqi and Saudi officials have agreed to reopen the Arar border crossing on a trial basis in mid-October for commercial purposes.

Abdulaziz Al-Shammari, the Saudi ambassador to Baghdad, said that the opening of the crossing would be a qualitative leap in strengthening Saudi-Iraqi relations and raising the level of trade exchange between the two countries. He added that Hajj and Umrah pilgrims will pass through this border point throughout the year.

Al-Shammari, and his Iraqi counterpart, Qahtan Al-Janabi, inspected the crossing on Thursday.

In remarks to Asharq Al-Awsat, the Saudi ambassador emphasized that Saudi-Iraqi relations were at their best.

“The Kingdom pledged to build a full Iraqi crossing and equip it with all the needed supplies, including infrastructure, office equipment, in addition to technical and inspection tools,” he said.

He added that the border crossing with Iraq would encompass the largest arena for trade exchange between the two countries, which would be on the Saudi side

“There is no doubt that with the opening of the crossing, all the goods imported by Iraqi traders from Saudi Arabia will be less expensive… This will also reflect on the economic activity inside Iraq,” Al-Shammari remarked.

He also highlighted the possibility for Iraqi businessmen and traders to use the Saudi ports on the Red Sea for import and export operations, revealing discussions between the two countries over an agreement to issue special visas for Iraqi businessmen and citizens to the Kingdom.

In April 2019, Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Trade and Investment, Dr. Majid Al-Qasabi, announced the opening of a Saudi consulate in Baghdad and plans to open three more consulates in a number of Iraqi provinces.

Riyadh and Baghdad established the Iraqi-Saudi Coordination Council two years ago, and held two sessions, one in Riyadh and the other in Baghdad last April.

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