Riyadh, London, Asharq Al-Awsat – An Iraqi source told Asharq Al-Awsat that the successive visits undertaken by Iraqi leaders to Saudi Arabia this week reflect the desire of these Iraqi political leaders to improve relations with Riyadh.
The day after Iraqi President Jalal Talabani visited Riyadh, the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz met with the President of the Kurdistan Region, Massoud Barzani, who visited Saudi Arabia Monday to discuss a number of topics of mutual interest. King Abdullah also awarded Barzani the King Abdulaziz Medal-First Class.
King Abdullah informed the Saudi Council of Ministers about the topic of his discussion with Talabani, and he reiterated Saudi Arabia’s support for Iraqi unity, independence, sovereignty, and security.
An Iraqi official source also informed Asharq Al-Awsat that both President of the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq Ammar al-Hakim and Iraqi Vice President Tariq al Hashimi are set to visit Saudi Arabia before the end of the week. This comes as part of the successive visits undertaken by Iraqi officials to Saudi Arabia after a delegation from the Sadrist trend visited Saudi Arabia last week. Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al Faisal described the talks as “fruitful.”
In Baghdad, sources within the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq said that its leader Ammar al Hakim will travel to Riyadh today after receiving an invitation from Prince Saud al Faisal.
A senior member of the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq, Hamid Maalla, described al Hakim’s visit to Saudi Arabia as “important.” He said, “This comes at a sensitive time within the framework of the negotiations taking place to draw up the future of Iraq and establish the best relations with Iraq’s Arab neighbours and to build a foundation for a balanced Arab presence.” Maalla added that “the official invitation from the Saudi Foreign Minister, and the nature of al Hakim’s reception [in Saudi Arabia] which will include meeting with the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz expresses important messages about Saudi Arabia’s Arab and international weight, Iraq’s sensitive position, and it also clarifies many [other] aspects.”