Baghdad – Saudi Arabia and Iraq agreed on Thursday to reopen the Aarar crossing, the only border crossing between the two countries, and to exchange security and intelligence information between them.
The reopening of the border will facilitate the travel of Iraqi Hajj pilgrims, while the security and intelligence exchange is aimed at combating terrorism.
The announcement was made during a press conference by Iraqi Chief of Staff Othman al-Ghanmi and his Saudi counterpart Abdulrahman al-Bunyan in the Iraqi capital Baghdad.
The two sides stressed the importance of cooperation and coordination in security affairs.
Al-Bunyan said that his visit to Iraq is part of efforts to set the foundation for improving ties between Riyadh and Baghdad on various levels.
He stressed the importance of the exchange of intelligence in countering terrorism, underlining the need to monitor the 814 km-long mainly desert border between Saudi Arabia and Iraq.
Iraqi Defense Minister Arfan Mahmoud al-Hiyali meanwhile hailed “Saudi Arabia’s role in supporting Iraq in its war against terrorism.”
He said during talks with al-Bunyan: “The armed Iraqi forces have showed great courage in defending the nation and fought terrorism on behalf of the world.”
For his part, the Saudi chief of staff hailed the role of the Iraqi forces in combating ISIS and “defending and liberating their land from those who have soiled it.”
The two officials discussed bilateral ties and ways to develop them, especially on the military level.
They also addressed the recent visits between officials from either country, including Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s talks in Jeddah on Tuesday with Iraqi Interior Minister Qassem al-Araji.
The Iraqi official also met with Interior Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Saud bin Nayef.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi had also paid a visit to the Kingdom. On June 20, he met with Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz to address bilateral ties and regional developments.
He had also held talks Crown Prince Mohammed, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense.