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Iraqi Prime Minister on forthcoming visit to Riyadh and Tehran as part of a mediation bid

#Iraqi #Prime #Minister #forthcoming #visit #Riyadh #Tehran #part #mediation #bid

Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhemi is scheduled to visit Saudi Arabia and Iran “in the next few hours” to mediate between the two countries, a Cabinet source said on Saturday.

Iraq has hosted five rounds of talks over the past year between the two regional rivals, who have not had diplomatic ties since 2016.

After the last round of negotiations in April, Kadhemi said he believed reconciliation between Riyadh and Tehran was “near,” further reflecting the region’s shifting political orientations.

“The official visit … is related to the talks that Riyadh and Tehran recently held in Baghdad,” a source in the prime minister’s cabinet said in a statement.

He said these talks are “a roadmap for improving ties and returning to the right course of strengthening bilateral ties” between Saudi Arabia and Iran, which support rival sides in conflict zones in the region.

The source added that the visits “are not related to Iraq’s internal political affairs and talks about the formation of the new government have nothing to do with the visit.”

Months after parliamentary elections, Iraq has still not formed a new government.

Sunni Muslim Saudi Arabia and Shia-majority Iran have lost diplomatic ties for six years since Iranian protesters attacked Saudi Arabia’s diplomatic missions in Iran after the kingdom executed Shia cleric Nimr al-Nimr.

Riyadh responded by breaking off relations with Tehran.

Earlier in March, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said his country and Iran were “forever neighbors” and that it was “better for both of us to sort it out and look for ways we can coexist.”

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