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Saudis Name First Iraqi Envoy In Two Decades

Saudi Arabia has named an ambassador to Iraq for the first time since the former dictator Saddam Hussein's forces invaded neighboring Kuwait in 1990.

Saudi Foreign Ministry said the kingdom's ambassador in Jordan will also be the ambassador to Iraq -- though “he will not be residing in Iraq” for the time being. Iraqi government welcomed the Saudi move, with Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari calling it a "good restart" in relations between the two nations.

Ali Mussawi, a spokesman for Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, said Baghdad is "waiting for more steps" such as the appointment of a resident ambassador.

The Saudi move comes as Iraq is preparing to host an Arab League summit at the end of March and amid concerns among Gulf Arab states about neighboring Iran's influence in postwar Iraq.

The summit has twice been delayed.