Riyadh, Asharq Al-Awsat- Iraqi National Security Adviser Muwaffaq al-Rubayi has revealed to Asharq al-Awsat that his government handed six Saudi citizens to the kingdom two days ago, with one of them on Saudi’s most wanted list announced last year.
He said the handover process took place last Monday and noted that the Iraqi side did not have any evidence convicting the six Saudis but thought it was its duty to hand them over to their country before the Saudi security organs discovered that one of them was on the list of wanted persons they were searching for. He added that the wanted Saudi had a different name to the one known to the security organs and this prompted him to underline the need for exchanging information between the Iraqi and Saudi sides.
His talks with Saudi officials the day before yesterday focused on political and security cooperation and the exchange of information and detainees. The Iraqi national security adviser stressed that the Saudis detained in the Iraqi Justice Ministry’s jails – which he said are less than 100 – were tried and the sentences against them became “definitive”, adding that his country has started to return the Saudis detained by the coalition forces who number less than 60. He said: “We believe now that Saudi-Iraqi coordination is at its best and its highest levels.” He stressed that Riyadh and Baghdad agree that terror is the two countries’ enemy number one and there is a need for unifying the efforts for fighting terror and errant terrorists, adding that no country can succeed in fighting terror alone and this underlines the need for unifying all the efforts in order to defeat this evil.
Al-Rubayi recorded his admiration for and appreciation of the Saudi security services’ achievements during recent months, which he called “splendid and very big”, particularly in the use of civilized ways and a complete package of security, cultural, religious, ideological, and practical measures for dealing with their detainees. He expressed the Iraqi Government’s hope that Saudi Arabia would open its embassy in Baghdad very soon and said he talked about this issue with Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saudi al-Faisal, adding that the prince sympathized with the Iraqi request to open the embassy as soon as possible and noted: “I told Prince Saudi al-Faisal that the key for the villa which will be the nucleus for his country’s embassy in Baghdad is in my pocket now.” He underlined the Iraqi Government’s readiness to provide the utmost protection levels for the Saudi representation in Iraq.
The Iraqi official also underlined the importance of Arab presence in his country, foremost of it the Saudi one which he said “is very important” because of Saudi Arabia’s economic, political, and religious weight in the Arab and Muslim worlds and added: “We need a Saudi weight inside Iraq, even if symbolic, because it is better than lack of it.”