Iraq denies inviting Assad to Baghdad regional summit

Iraq denies inviting Syria's Assad to Baghdad regional summit
2 min read
17 August, 2021
The Iraqi foreign ministry refuted reports that it had invited Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to its regional summit, set to take place in Baghdad at the end of this month.
Fuad Hussein's ministry denied that it had invited the Syrian regime head to the summit [Getty]

Iraq's foreign ministry denied on Monday that it had invited Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad to a summit of Middle Eastern leaders set to take place in Baghdad at the end of this month.

The foreign ministry issued the denial in a statement carried by state media, referring to a regional summit it had organised.

"Some media outlets have circulated that the Iraqi government submitted an invitation to the Syrian government to participate in the summit meeting of neighboring countries," it read.

The statement came hours after the leader of the Popular Mobilisation Forces (PMF), an Iran-backed Iraqi paramilitary coalition, met with Assad in Damascus.

Citing unnamed sources, Iraqi media reported that PMF leader Falih Al-Fayyadh handed Assad an invitation to the summit.

The Iraqi foreign ministry said in its statement that "official invitations are sent by an official letter" and that "no other party has the right to give the invitation on behalf of the Iraqi government".

The summit will address security issues, as well as political and economic stability.

The presidents of regional foes Iran and Saudi Arabia have been invited to the summit. Iraq has tried to mediate between the two countries in recent years.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has also been invited. French President Emmanuel Macron said he would be attending.

Iraqi officials flew to Qatar and the UAE on Sunday to invite their leaders to the summit.