Saudi Foreign Minister makes surprise visit to Baghdad

Jubeir, left, is the first Saudi foreign minister to visit Iraq in more than 20 years [Handout/AFP]
Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister has made a rare visit to Baghdad in an attempt to mend the kingdom’s tense relations with Iraq.

Adel al-Jubeir’s surprise trip on Saturday marked the first official visit by a Saudi foreign minister since 1990, and the first high-level visit since the 2003 US-led invasion.

“It’s the hope of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to build excellent relations between the two brotherly countries,” said Jubeir.

“There are also many shared interests, from fighting extremism and terrorism [to] opportunities for investment and trade between the two countries.”

Jubeir, who met his Iraqi counterpart Ibrahim al-Jaafari and Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, also announced Saudi plans to appoint a new ambassador to Iraq.

An Iraqi foreign ministry official said the kingdom supported the resumption of direct flights between the two countries.

Abadi, who has been in power since 2014, has supported efforts to improve strained ties, but the road to normalisation has been rocky.

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