Saudi foreign minister says Iraq belongs to 'the Arabs'

Saudi foreign minister says Iraq belongs to 'the Arabs'
Riyadh and Baghdad are moving quickly to heal a decades-old diplomatic rift and begin cooperation on a number of issues.
2 min read
13 November, 2014
Faisal pledged Saudi support for Iraq [Getty]

Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal confirmed Saudi Arabia's support for Iraq and its government during Iraqi President Fouad Masum's visit to Riyadh on Tuesday.

"Iraq belongs to the Arabs who will continue to support its stability and unity," Faisal said after meeting with Masum. 

Relations have been strained between the two countries since former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein ordered the invasion of Kuwait in August 1990.

Faisal said he hoped Iraqis would be united, and pledged Saudi Arabia's support. He also expressed his country's willingness "to strengthen joint cooperation with Iraq on different issues and to work on opening the Saudi embassy in Baghdad", which he said would be opened as soon as possible.

An Iraqi official told al-Araby al-Jadeed before the meeting that Masum's agenda would include security cooperation between the two countries, particularly Iraq's request that the Saudi authorities hand over a list of known members of the Islamic State group (IS, formerly known as ISIS).

There is thought to be at least 1,500 names on such a list.

Iraq also reportedly requested a "clarification of issues" related to the countries' shared border.

"The Iraqi president might request assistance from Saudi Arabia in convincing Sunni and tribal leaders to support the government and join the international alliance in efforts to fight IS," added our source.

This is an edited translation from our Arabic edition.