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Saudi Arabia Working for Regional Stability- Maliki Aide | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Baghdad, Asharq Al-Awsat—The day after a delegation headed by Ibrahim al-Jaafari, leader of the ruling National Iraqi Alliance (NIA), arrived in Riyadh to offer condolences to the Saudi government following the passing of Prince Sattam Bin Abdulaziz, an adviser to Iraqi prime minister Nuri al-Maliki has confirmed that “it is time that Iraqi-Saudi relations took on their natural range.”

Maryam Rayes, a political adviser to the Iraqi prime minister, confirmed in a statement to Asharq Al-Awsat: “Greater openness with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia began with the recent Arab summit in Baghdad, which was attended by Saudi Arabia. Although the level of representation was not high, this was an important step, and so the Iraqi government responded through its own steps, whether through the ministry of foreign affairs or the NIA, which includes important components at the level of government and the political process. This highlights Iraq’s desire to establish better relations with a country of the stature of Saudi Arabia.” He added, “Saudi Arabia shares a long border with Iraq, as well as mutual interests and intertwined relationships, and therefore it is time that these relations took on their natural range.” Rayes believes that “the growth of Iraqi-Saudi relations will have a positive impact on the region as a whole, as events have proven that Saudi Arabia is working for the stability of the region.”

For his part, Hassan al-Alawi, an independent member of the Iraqi parliament and a prominent intellectual, told Asharq Al-Awsat that “it is well known that Saudi Arabia responds to positive gestures in kind. It is a state influenced by humanitarian stances, and one of its major advantages is that it deals with any party on the principle of good faith, and in turn it will match that good faith and more.” He pointed out, “Saudi Arabia does not tend to intervene in the internal matters of other states; it has never been a party to the internal conflicts between Iraqi blocs and factions.” Alawi added, “I can say, by virtue of my knowledge of Saudi Arabia, that the Saudis do not have an agenda in Iraq like other countries, which have sought and are seeking to interfere in Iraqi affairs by various ways and means.” He went on to say, “It was a mistake for Iraq to distance from Saudi Arabia and open up to other countries that are already isolated and have little international influence, such as Iran, while Saudi Arabia is an important regional gateway with significant international influence, with no ambitions or designs on Iraq.” Alawi revealed that he had “advised Maliki, in more than one personal meeting, to undertake initiatives towards Saudi Arabia because it will respond in kind.”