Saudi consulate to open in Iraqi Kurdistan

Saudi consulate to open in Iraqi Kurdistan
Riyadh's ambassador said Saudi Arabia would open a consulate in Iraqi Kurdistan in a sign of developing relations between the Kingdom and the autonomous region of Iraq.
2 min read
04 February, 2016
Saudi Ambassador to Iraq was recently summoned to Baghdad over comments concerning militias [Getty]
The Saudi ambassador to Iraq, Thamar al-Sabhan, has revealed that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is set to open a consulate in the Kurdistan region next week.

"Relations between Saudi Arabia and our brothers in the Kurdistan region of Iraq are good," Sabhan told the TV station K24, which broadcasts from Erbil, the capital of the autonomous region.

Saudi King Salman bin Abdul-Aziz and the president of Iraqi Kurdistan, Massoud Barzani, have reportedly discussed developing relations between Saudi Arabia and the Kurdish region, in which officials desire full independence.

Yesterday, Barzani declared that the "time has come" for the country's Kurdish population to hold a referendum on statehood, which is opposed by Iraq's central government.

"Hopefully we will open the Saudi consulate in Erbil province of Kurdistan next week, and we at the embassy of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia are communicating with all Iraqi factions to open new horizons in our relationship with Iraq," said the ambassador, the first Baghdad-based Saudi envoy in quarter of a century.

Sabhan added that the kingdom hoped to play "a positive role" in Iraq, and to give economic and humanitarian assistance to the war-torn country.

The ambassador's comments came after he was summoned by the Iraqi government to Baghdad last week in protest at his "interference" in the country's internal affairs over remarks on militia forces fighting the Islamic State group.