Saudi Arabia Wants to Open an Embassy in Najaf, Iraq

Arar– Saudi Arabia could open a new embassy in Najaf, Iraq, within the upcoming four months at the latest, according to Charge d’Affaires of Saudi Embassy in Iraq Abdulaziz al-Shammari.

Shammari stated that the Saudi-Iraqi openness will reflect positively on people of both countries and achieve development and stability which will lead to establishing stability in Iraq.

Shammari comments came following his visit with Iraqi ambassador in Riyadh Rashidi Mahmoud al-Ani to al-Jadidah Arar border crossing between Saudi Arabia and Iraq In preparation for the crossing’s inauguration.

They toured the crossing facilities and talked to officials from both countries as well as Iraqi pilgrims.

The two officials visited the Saudi Northern Borders Province and met its Governor Prince Faisal bin Khalid in his office.

Iraqi embassy in Riyadh confirmed Sunday it had received an official request from Saudi foreign ministry to open a consulate in Najaf. Iraqi Ambassador said the move proves Saudi Arabia seeks to boost bilateral ties.

Saudi Charge d’Affaires believes that the past period had taught both countries a lesson on the importance of maintaining strong relations.

He stated that for 11 months in Baghdad, he witnessed the kindness and generosity of the Iraqi people. He blamed some media outlets for their attempts to harm the relations, but insisted that both countries are linked by blood and religion.

Shammari said that over the past few months, several Iraqi ministers visited the Kingdom and the officials of both countries agreed on a lot of investments and projects that serve the two countries, and a memorandum of understanding on air transport was signed.

When asked about the Arar border crossing, Shammari stated that the crossing is fully equipped to receive pilgrims, adding that it will be further developed in the near future to serve the trade movement between both countries, especially that it hadn’t been officially opened for 27 years.

Next month, Baghdad will host an international conference which most of important Saudi companies will be part of, according to Shammari.

The Charge d’Affaires also hailed the improved security in Iraq especially following the visit of Iraqi Interior Minister. He warned that the safety and security of Iraqi and Saudi citizens are “red lines” for both countries.

Speaking about trade and economic exchange, Shammari stressed that Saudi products are wanted in Iraq, confirming that there will be further developments and “good news” next year.

For his part, the Iraqi ambassador to the Kingdom hailed the opening of the crossing point and valued the services and facilities provided by the Kingdom to his country’s pilgrims. He also praised the medical services provided to pilgrims. According to statistics, over 8,500 Iraqi pilgrims had entered Saudi Arabia so far.

Al-Ani confirmed that he received an official request from Saudi Arabia to open a new embassy in Najaf, adding that the request was welcomed by Iraqis. He also stated that they are currently working on opening Jamim point crossing in al-Salman district.

The ambassador explained that recent developments in the strategic relations is a result of the meeting between Custodian of Two Holy Mosques King Salman and Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi.

Iraqi pilgrim Ali Nawwar, 63, stated that the services provided were exquisite. He stated that tribes and people of both countries are all united. He also praised and thanked King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.