Baghdad– Bahrain’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed bin Mohammed Al Khalifa arrived in Iraq on Sunday on an official visit where he held meetings with Iraqi President Fuad Masoum, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi and Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari.
Notably, the Iraqi FM and his Bahraini counterpart didn’t hold a joint press conference following their meeting.
Relations between Iraq and Bahrain have been tense following statements made by Iraqi officials after the conviction of several Bahraini citizens.
Earlier, a source at the Ministry of Interior informed Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper that Iraq is planning to hand wanted convicts to Bahrain soon.
Abadi held a meeting at his office with the Bahraini FM and his accompanying delegation during which they discussed enhancing bilateral relations in various fields, the situation in the region and the war on terrorism.
Abadi stated Iraq’s victories against ISIS terrorist organization and ongoing efforts to liberate its territory. He noted the importance of regional integration and enhancing the interests of the peoples of the region.
The PM reiterated the importance of fighting sectarianism that serves terrorism, pointing out that all international and regional efforts must be exerted to put an end to ISIS’ terrorism.
On behalf of the government and the people of Bahrain, the Bahraini FM congratulated Abadi on the liberation of Mosul and the victories achieved against ISIS. Al Khalifa reaffirmed that Bahrain stands with Iraq in its war against terrorism. He also confirmed his country’s willingness to strengthen political, economic, trade and cultural ties between the two countries.
Bahrain’s FM also discussed bilateral relations with the Iraqi president at al-Salam Palace.
During the meeting, Masum confirmed the need for joint efforts to strengthen Iraqi-Bahraini relations in all fields, including political, economical, and trade ties, according to the presidential statement.
Bahrain’s FM confirmed that his visit to Baghdad will open up new prospects of communication and cooperation between both countries.
The foreign affairs committee of the Iraqi parliament stressed the importance of the Bahraini FM’s visit, saying it ensures Iraq’s openness to the Arab region.
Committee member Hasan Khodeir al-Shuwaider stated that Iraq is a founding member of the Arab League and can’t be singled out of its Arab roots. He reiterated the importance of the Bahraini FM’s visit, saying it is aimed at mending strained relations between Iraq and neighboring Arab countries.
Shuwaider told Asharq Al-Awsat that Iraq’s return to the Arab environment ensures its political and economic integration with its neighboring countries.
Iraq’s relations with its Arab surrounding has been improving over the past few months with several Arab officials visiting Baghdad. The Iraqi government wants to enhance its ties with Arab countries and the Gulf in particular.