Iraq hands Turkey formal invitation to regional summit
The Iraqi Minister of Foreign Affairs has handed Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan an official invitation to attend a key summit of regional leaders that aims to bring together representatives of Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Iran.
Fuad Hussein delivered the invitation on behalf of Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi on Sunday, a source told the The New Arab’s Arabic-language service, adding that Baghdad had already received a number of positive responses.
Hussein will travel to Tehran in the next two days to hand an invitation to Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and discuss issues related to Iraq’s security as well as bilateral relations between Iran and Iraq.
Sources within the Iraqi Foreign Ministry had previously told the New Arab that Iraqi officials were planning a summit to be held at the end of the month in a bid to diffuse regional tension.
Prime Minister Al-Kadhimi appointed a committee, headed by Senior Undersecretary Nizar Al-Khairallah, to work on preparations for the summit, which sources said will be held in Baghdad at the end of August or the beginning of September and bring together representatives from Iran, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Jordan, in addition to Syrian regime officials and representatives of the European Union.
Al-Kadhimi recently told a group of journalists in Washington that Iraq will seek to play a bigger role in bringing regional powers together.
The agenda will address security issues, as well as political and economic stability.
Iraq organised a tripartite summit with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi and Jordanian King Abdullah II in Baghdad in June, promoting itself as a regional facilitator.
Iraqi Defence Minister Jumaa Inad arrived in Cairo on Saturday to meet with President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, according to an Iraqi official statement.
On Tuesday, Planning Minister Khaled Battal Al-Najm handed a written letter from Al-Kadhimi to the Emir of Kuwait, Prince Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, which included an invitation to attend the conference, according to the Iraqi news agency.
Political disputes between Saudi Arabia and Iran have exacerbated in recent years, leading to what some analysts have defined as a "cold war".
Iraq has sought to play peacemaker between regional and international powers including the United States, Saudi Arabia and Iran.