Saudi Arabia opens consulate in Baghdad in sign of warmer ties

Saudi Arabia opens consulate in Baghdad in sign of warmer ties

Baghdad (Web Desk): Saudi Arabia on Thursday opened its consulate in Baghdad on Thursday for the first time in nearly 30 years in a sign of improving ties.

The consulate, which will issue visas to Iraqis, was opened during a two-day visit by a delegation headed by the Saudi minister of commerce and investment, Majid bin Abdullah al-Qasabi.

Dr. Majid bin Abdullah Al-Qassabi said Riyadh seeks closer ties to Iraq in an effort to counter Iran's growing regional influence, adding that three other Saudi consulates will open in Iraqi cities soon.

He made the announcement during a press conference that he held with Iraq’s Deputy Prime Minister for Energy Affairs and Oil Minister Thamir Ghadban.

Al-Qassabi added that there are “13 agreements and memorandums of understanding (MoUs) between the Saudi and Iraqi sides in all fields, which are in their final stages, and that will have a significant impact on raising the level of cooperation between the two countries.”

He stressed Saudi Arabia’s keenness to support development projects in Iraq, and said the Arar border crossing between the two countries will open in six months, which will enhance bilateral trade.

Al-Qassabi attended the second session of the Saudi-Iraqi Coordination Council, which started on Thursday in Baghdad, with members and chairmen of the council’s committees in attendance. The Saudi delegation was headed by Al-Qassabi, and the Iraqi delegation by Ghadban.