January 24, 2019 / 7:34 AM / a month ago

Saudi crown prince offers full support for Iraq's security - Iraq PM's office

FILE PHOTO: Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman attends a G20 leaders summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina, November 30, 2018. REUTERS/Sergio Moraes/File Photo

ERBIL, Iraq (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman on Thursday offered his full support for Iraq’s continued security in a phone call to Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi.

The countries have been at loggerheads since the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990. The call was the latest indication of attempts to improve relations, which began with the reopening of the Saudi Arabian embassy in Baghdad in 2016.

“His Highness ... expressed ...full support of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for Iraq and its support for its permanent security and prosperity,” a statement from Abdul Mahdi’s office said.

Saudi Arabia is wooing Baghdad as part of a combined effort with the United States to stem the growing regional influence of Iran, while Iraq is seeking economic benefits from closer ties with Riyadh.

The Iraqi premier welcomed the “development of relations”, the statement said.

In October 2017, two months before Iraq declared victory over Islamic State, the countries established the Iraqi-Saudi Joint Coordination Council, to help rebuild devastated areas retaken from the Islamist militants in Iraq.

Reporting by Raya Jalabi; editing by John Stonestreet

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