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Saudi Arabia reopens embassy in Iraq capital: Report

2 January 2016 12:19



Saudi Arabia has reopened its embassy in the Iraqi capital Baghdad some 25 years after the two Arab countries severed diplomatic relations, the kingdom’s Al Arabiya TV says.

New Saudi Ambassador to Baghdad Thamer al-Sabhan told the channel that the mission’s reopening will allow the two countries to cooperate on security and the fight against extremism.

Baghdad has accused Riyadh of supporting the Daesh Takfiri terror group, which has seized swathes of land in Iraq since June 2014.

The embassy was closed in December 1990 when former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait, promoting Riyadh to cut ties with Baghdad.

The two countries restored diplomatic relations in July 2004 following Saddam’s ouster. The Saudi government named a non-resident ambassador, Fahd bin Abdul Mohsen al-Zaid, to the Iraqi capital in March 2012.

In April 2015, Riyadh appointed Sabhan, the former military attaché at the Saudi embassy in Lebanon, as its non-resident ambassador to Baghdad.

Ahead of the rise of Daesh in Iraq, former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki repeatedly accused Saudi Arabia of supporting terrorist groups. Maliki once said the wave of violence and terrorism plaguing his country “originates from Saudi Arabia.”

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