Iraqi President in Riyadh for ‘Normalizing Diplomatic and Political Relations’
“President Fuad Masum met with Suadi King where they discussed mutual relations and means of promoting them. The Saudi King praised the stance and role of the Religious Authority Sistani in sustaining unity and security in Iraq,” said a statement issued by the office of Iraqi president. (Iraqi News, 12 November)
Masum arrived in Riyadh on Tuesday in an attempt at patching up long-strained relations between the two countries as Baghdad battles Jihadist militants, a senior Iraqi official told the Daily Star on Wednesday. The meeting between Masum and King Abdullah was the highest-level contact between the neighboring countries in years.
“The main focus of the visit is normalizing diplomatic and political relations between the two countries,” Iraqi Finance Minister Hoshyar Zebari said. (AFP, 12 November)
Maliki’s eight years in office were marked by tensions with Saudi Arabia, with Riyadh blaming Maliki’s government for sectarian policies that helped the rise of the Islamic State. Ayatollah Sistani, however, has been a voice of moderation in the country and has called for fair treatment of minorities, including the Sunnis, and closer relations with the Sunni world.
File photo: Saudi King Abdullah and Iraqi President Masum in Riyadh (AFP/SPA/Iraqi News)