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Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi arrives in Saudi Arabia for talks

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi (Photo by AFP)
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has arrived in Saudi Arabia to hold talks with King Salman on key regional developments as well as bilateral ties.
Abadi arrived in the Red Sea city of Jeddah on Monday and was greeted by Mohammed bin Nayef, Saudi deputy prime minister and the minister of interior.
State media said that Abadi’s visit would last for one day.
Abadi came to office in September 2014 on promises of establishing friendly relations with major powers in the Middle East. Compared to his predecessor Nouri al-Maliki, he has been less critical of Saudi Arabia’s role in militancy that has plagued the region, including Iraq, for the past years. However, Abadi has argued that Riyadh should do more to help countries like Iraq to defeat terrorists.
Abadi’s visit comes nearly four months after Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir visited Baghdad for talks in first such trip since 2003.
It also comes nearly a year after the Saudi ambassador to Iraq, Thamer al-Sabhan, Riyadh’s first envoy to Baghdad in 25 years, was removed amid controversy.
Sabhan had on occasions received warnings from Iraqi officials for interference in the country’s internal affairs.
Saudi Arabia has sought to repair ties with Iraq as many Iraqis blame Riyadh for the spread of Takfiri ideology, which helped the Daesh terrorist group overrun parts of the country in 2014.
Abadi could also be visiting the kingdom on a mediatory mission as tensions have escalated between Saudi-led Arab governments of the Persian Gulf region and Qatar since earlier this month.
The Iraqi premier, who will travel to Kuwait and Iran after the Saudi visit, could also help create a rapprochement between Doha and Arab countries of the Persian Gulf region.

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