Iraqi officials stress need to boost Arab ties while balancing relations with Iran

Al Monitor | : The Iraqi city of Sulaimaniyah hosted the sixth-annual Sulaimaniyah Forum on March 6-7, where discussions focused on Iraq’s strategic significance in the region. During the forum, Iraqi officials and their Arab counterparts called for Iraq to re-embrace strong ties with its Arab neighbors and strike a balance in its ties with Iran.

This year’s forum was held under the motto “Iraq and Its Neighbors: Toward a New Regional Order.”

Iraqi President Barham Salih said on the first day of the forum that Iraq is striving to bring together different viewpoints in the region based on its depth of ties with Arabic and Persian Gulf states, assuring that this will bring major economic developments to the country and help solve the security crisis. Iraq is capable of being an “arena for consensus and reconciliation among the countries of the region,” he noted.

Salih highlighted the economic role of Iraq in bringing peace to the region, saying that Iraq is moving toward being a “bridge between the region’s economies by linking infrastructures between the Gulf, Turkey and Iran on one side, and between the Arab region and the Mediterranean region on the other.”

Salih referred to his recent campaign to visit different regional countries — including Jordan, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia — and preparations for signing major economic agreements between Iraq and these countries in order establish a regional economic system that brings all the countries closer and enables Iraq to play a balancing role in the region.

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