IraqMiddle EastSaudi Arabia

Iraq, Saudi Reopen Border Crossing after 30 Years

Iraq and Saudi Arabia on Wednesday reopened their Arar desert crossing, after 30 years of sealed land borders between the two countries.

Top officials including Iraq’s interior minister and the head of its border commission travelled from Baghdad to formally open Arar, where a line of cargo trucks stood waiting.

The Saudi ambassador to Iraq was also in attendance and a delegation from Riyadh was to open the Saudi side of the border.

Arar will be open to both goods and people for the first time since Riyadh cut off its diplomatic relationship with Baghdad in 1990, following Iraqi ex-dictator Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait.

Ties have remained rocky ever since, but current Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhemi has a close personal relationship with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Kadhemi was to travel to Saudi Arabia as his first foreign trip as prime minister in May, but the visit was cancelled at the last minute when Saudi King Salman was hospitalized.

He has yet to make the trip, although Iraqi ministers have visited Riyadh to meet with their counterparts and a top-level Saudi delegation travelled to Baghdad last week.

Baghdad sees Arar as a potential alternative to its crossings with eastern neighbor Iran, through which Iraq brings in a large share of its imports.

Back to top button