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Iraqi PM Traveling To Iran, Saudi Arabia In Bid To Revive Talks Between Bitter Rivals


Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi (file photo)

Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi is traveling to Saudi Arabia and Iran in an effort to broker new talks between the two bitter rivals, officials said.

Kadhimi is scheduled to first visit Riyadh for meetings on June 25, then move on to the Iranian capital, Tehran, the following day.

Kadhimi “will visit the Islamic republic and the kingdom of Saudi Arabia back-to-back, within days,” the Iraqi News Agency quoted sources as saying.

The Iraqi prime minister is seeking to revive Baghdad-mediated talks between Saudi Arabia and Iran, an official who spoke on the condition of anonymity told AP.

A previous round of talks held in Baghdad in April were suspended amid raised tensions in the region.

Shi’ite-majority Iran and Sunni-led Saudi Arabia have long been rivals competing for influence in the Middle East.

The Saudis broke ties with Iran in 2016 after Iranian protesters stormed the Saudi Embassy in Tehran following the execution of a Shi’ite cleric in Saudi Arabia.

A bloody war in Yemen is considered by many to be a proxy war between Riyadh and Tehran. The conflict has led to one of the world’s worst humanitarian disasters, while Iran-aligned Huthi rebels have fired missiles toward Saudi airports and oil facilities.

When he took office in May 2020, Kadhimi said Iraq was seeking to have balanced relations with Iran and Saudi Arabia.

Based on reporting by AP and The National
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