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Iraq: Hope to raise representation at Saudi Arabia-Iran meetings to foreign ministers’ level

September 27, 2022 at 2:37 pm

Foreign Minister of Iraq Fuad Hussein in Baghdad, Iraq on 7 December 2021 [Wisam Zeyad Mohammed/Anadolu Agency]

The Iraqi Foreign Minister, Fuad Hussein, expressed his country’s efforts to raise the representation of the meetings between Saudi Arabia and Iran to reach the level of foreign ministers, after they were previously held at the security and intelligence levels.

Hussein told Rudaw news site that the mediation process between the two countries is ongoing.

He added, “So far, there have been five meetings (between Iran and Saudi Arabia) in Baghdad, but they were at the intelligence and security levels. The dispute is over this.”

Hussein continued, “Since I met the Iranian and Saudi parties, we are working to change the level to the level of foreign ministers, but this discussion is continuing. Let’s wait and see what happens next.”

On the question about the date when a meeting at the foreign ministers level will take place, Hussein said, “I said, before, that discussions are ongoing.”

Since 2021, Saudi Arabia and Iran have held 5 rounds of talks in Baghdad on the normalisation of their severed relations and ways to resolve differences, amid expectations that the Iraqi capital will host the sixth round of this dialogue soon.

In January 2016, Saudi Arabia severed relations with Iran, following attacks on the Riyadh embassy in Tehran and its Consulate in the city of Mashhad (east), in protest of the Kingdom’s execution of the Saudi Shia cleric, Nimr Al-Nimr, after being convicted of charges, including terrorism.

Gulf States, led by Saudi Arabia, accuse Iran of having an expansionist Shia agenda in the region and of interfering in the internal affairs of Arab countries, including Iraq, Yemen, Lebanon and Syria. Tehran denies this, and says it is committed to good neighbourly relations.

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