Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi underscored the importance of Arab presence in his country.
Speaking at a press briefing late on Wednesday on the sidelines of his visit to Saudi Arabia, he added that the presence of the Kingdom in Iraq will play a major role in the stability of the region and his country.
He highlighted Saudi Arabia’s economic role and political cooperation with Iraq, which he said was certain to play a great role in the region.
Baghdad has sought to overcome hurdles in its foreign relations, he stressed, saying it has succeeded in forging “excellent” ties with Europe, the United States, Iran, Turkey and Saudi Arabia.
On the challenges facing his government, Kadhimi cited the possession of weapons by various criminal gangs.
He underlined his government’s efforts to combat these groups, noting that a large segment of the Iraqi youth is keen on ending this phenomenon in a way that averts civil strife.
Addressing relations with the Kurdistan Region, the PM said they were witnessing a “golden age in spite of all the challenges.”
He revealed that he has been acquainted with all Kurdish leaderships since the 1980s. “I enjoy historic relations with President Masoud Barzani and the region’s Prime Minister Masrour Barzani,” he added, describing him as a “brother”.
“I also enjoy a historic and excellent relationship with President Barham Salih. He is an ally and a friend,” he stated.
Asked about political stability in Iraq, Kadhimi acknowledged the major challenges facing his country, including the spread of weapons outside state control.
Iraq is the product of “difficult circumstances”, he went on to say. Systems that were previously described as “progressive” have given way to civil wars, as seen in Syria, Libya and Iraq.
Iraq, he continued, has witnessed more wars than any other country. He blamed the unrest on religious parties and partly on former ruler Saddam Hussein, all of whom exploited religion for their own gains.
Moreover, a weak system was established in Iraq after the 2003 American invasion, he added. This in turn, led to “inequality among the people” that resulted in “futile wars”.
Later, in remarks to AFP, Kadhimi said that he refuses for Iraq to be used as a platform to attack Saudi Arabia.
He also refuted claimed by a previously unknown group that alleged to have fired drones towards Riyadh.
He stressed that the attack was not launched from Iraq, saying such claims are aimed at harming relations between Baghdad and the Kingdom.