Middle East Desk
BAGHDAD: Officials from around the Middle East arrived in Baghdad, Iraq, on Friday ahead of a summit aiming to promote peace and reconciliation in the region, including improving ties between arch rivals Iran and Saudi Arabia.
According to details, Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi said the Saturday meeting seeks to give Iraq a “unifying role” to tackle the crises shaking the region.
Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian also arrived in Baghdad to participate in the Summit, the ministry said. His ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh announced the departure to the “meeting to support Iraq” in a short statement.
The Islamic republic’s new President Ebrahim Raisi was invited to the Baghdad meeting, but it was not clear if he would attend. Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and Jordan’s King Abdullah II have said they will attend, as has French President Emmanuel Macron, the only official expected from outside the region. Leaders from Saudi Arabia and Turkey were also invited.
Iraq is seeking to establish itself as a mediator between Arab countries and Iran. Baghdad has been brokering talks since April between regional heavyweights Riyadh and Tehran on mending ties severed in 2016.
Raisi, who took office last week, has said he sees “no obstacles” to restoring ties with Riyadh. He has made improving relations with regional countries one of his priorities.