Saudi Arabia's powerful Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir has made a landmark visit to Iraq becoming the first person in his position to visit the country since 1990. Carrying a promise to mend the longstanding frosty ties between the two countries, the Saudi minister pledged Riyadh's commitment to root out terrorism in the region.
Addressing a joint press conference with his Iraqi counterpart Ibrahim al-Jaafari, the Saudi minister said he intends to improve cooperation with Baghdad.
"It's the hope of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to build excellent relations between the two brotherly countries. There are also many shared interests from fighting extremism and terrorism or opportunities for investment and trade between the two countries," said al-Jubeir. "The kingdom stands at an equal distance from all Iraqi communities making up Iraq and supports the unity and stability of Iraq."
Jubeir also confirmed naming a new ambassador to Iraq. Though Riyadh reopened its embassy in 2015, after closing it in 1990 during Iraq's invasion of Kuwait, Baghdad quickly sought his replacement after he made some critical remarks.
"We need to right what has been wronged in the past and improve on our relations moving forward starting with increased visits of officials between our countries," said Jaafari.
The reopening of the Saudi embassy in the Iraqi capital would be heralded as a significant landmark in the ties between the Sunni kingdom and Iraq, which is currently struggling to crawl back from the grip of Isis.
The Saudi minister also held talks with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi and described his trip as a fruitful one.