Iraq hosts Saudi Arabia and Iran at parliamentary conference

The speaker of Iraq's parliament Mohammed Al-Halbousi walks with the speaker of the Saudi Shoura Council Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Ibrahim Al-Sheikh at Baghdad International Airport, Iraq April 20, 2019. (Iraqi parliament media office/Reuters)
Updated 21 April 2019
0

Iraq hosts Saudi Arabia and Iran at parliamentary conference

  • Delegations including the heads of parliament from Turkey, Kuwait, Syria and Jordan
  • The speaker of Iraq's parliament said that his country's relations with neighboring states are strong

BAGHDAD: Iraq is hosting senior parliamentary officials from Saudi Arabia and Iran on Saturday as Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi seeks to bolster his country's nascent role as a mediator in the region.
Delegations including the heads of parliament from Turkey, Kuwait, Syria and Jordan are also attending the one-day conference in the Iraqi capital to discuss regional security, diplomacy and economic issues.

The speaker of Iraq's parliament Mohammed Al-Halbousi, who is chairing the gathering in Baghdad, said that his country's relations with neighboring states are strong and that Iraq intends to develop them.

Visiting officials pledged support for reconstruction and development efforts in Iraq and for the country's continued stability following its victory over Daesh, after three years of war, Al-Halbousi said in a statement. 

Al-Halbousi also stated that Iraq continues to fight terror with regional and international assistance, and thanked all countries that have supported this fight. 

The speaker of the Saudi Shoura Council Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Ibrahim Al-Sheikh said that his country celebrates Iraq’s ongoing efforts in fighting terrorism and limiting Daesh's influence in the region.
Abdul Mahdi recently returned from visits to Iran and Saudi Arabia. It is unusual for Saudi and Iranian officials to attend the same events.
The premier has said Iraq will maintain strong ties with Iran, but also with the United States and regional neighbours, many of which, like Saudi Arabia, consider Tehran a foe.
Abdul Mahdi met King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman during his visit to Riyadh, his first official trip to the kingdom since taking office six months ago.
Iraq and Saudi Arabia have been at loggerheads since the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990, but they have recently undertaken a diplomatic push to improve ties.
Abdul Mahdi's visit to Riyadh came 10 days after he visited Iran. During his trip to Tehran, he met President Hassan Rouhani and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Many of Iraq's leaders, from its Shi'ite majority, have close ties with Iran, the main Shi'ite power in the Middle East.

 


Turkey sends weapons to opposition fighters in Syria

Turkish-backed Syrian opposition fighters get a major boost as Ankara backs them with fresh supplies of weaponry to help them hold their ground. (Reuters)
Updated 26 May 2019
0

Turkey sends weapons to opposition fighters in Syria

  • Ankara signals readiness to preserve its influence in Syria’s Idlib province in northwestern region

AMMAN: Turkey has equipped an array of mainstream Syrian opposition fighters it backs with fresh supplies of weaponry to help them try to repel a major Russian-backed assault, senior opposition officials and opposition sources said on Saturday.
Russia is backing the Syrian army’s large aerial and ground assault as it seeks to gain control of the last big stretch of opposition-held territory in the northwest of the country.
Syria’s Bashar Assad launched the assault last month, saying fighters had breached an existing cease-fire, triggering a civilian exodus by bombarding Idlib and adjacent areas. It has been the biggest escalation since last summer between Assad and the opposition fighters in Idlib province and a belt of territory around it.
Ankara stepped up supplies in recent days after failing to persuade Russia in recent meetings of a joint working group that it should end its escalation to avert a major influx of refugees pouring into Turkey, two senior opposition figures said.

FASTFACT

Ankara stepped up supplies in recent days after failing to persuade Russia in recent meetings of a joint working group that it should end its escalation to avert a major influx of refugees pouring into Turkey.

In doing so Turkey signaled its readiness to preserve its influence in northwestern Syria, where it has beefed up its troop presence in a dozen military bases that were set up under a de-escalation deal with Russia, a senior opposition commander said. Turkish officials were not immediately available for comment.
Overnight, a Turkish military convoy arrived in a base in northern Hama near opposition-held Jabal Al-Zawiya, where Russian and Syrian jets have been pounding for weeks, a fighter and a witness said.
The delivery of dozens of armored vehicles, Grad rocket launchers, anti-tank guided missiles helped roll back some army gains and retake the strategically located town of Kfar Nabouda.