Iran's new President invited to regional summit in Baghdad

Iraq invites Ebrahim Raisi to regional summit. Turkey's President and Saudi Arabia's King have also been invited.

Elad Benari ,

Ebrahim Raisi
Ebrahim Raisi
Reuters

Iran's new President Ebrahim Raisi has been invited to a planned regional summit in Baghdad, his office said Tuesday during a visit by Iraq's top diplomat, according to the AFP news agency.

The invitation was delivered to the Iranian capital by Iraqi Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein, a day after Baghdad announced the summit set for later this month.

French President Emmanuel Macron has confirmed he plans to attend, while Iraq has said Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Saudi Arabia's King Salman have also been invited.

Iran's presidency did not confirm whether Raisi would accept his invitation, but a statement after his meeting with Hussein quoted him welcoming the Iraqi initiative.

"Cooperation between the region's countries without foreign interference is the necessary condition for the region's stable security," Raisi added in a statement.

No date for the meeting in Baghdad has yet been announced and a complete list of participants is yet to be unveiled.

Iraq is seeking to establish itself as a mediator between Arab countries and Iran, noted AFP.

The Gulf states cut ties with Iran in 2016, accusing Tehran of meddling in their affairs and giving safe haven to terrorist groups such as Al-Qaeda.

Much of the tension is between Iran and Saudi Arabia, which back opposing sides in the wars in Yemen, where Iran backs the Houthi rebels and in Syria, where the Iranian regime supports President Bashar Al-Assad while the Saudis back the rebels trying to oust him.

Saudi Arabia has repeatedly called on Iran to stop its “meddling” in the affairs of the kingdom's neighbors.

Iran has fired back, accusing Saudi Arabia of trying to “drag the entire region into confrontation”.

The talks between the two regional rivals in Baghdad, facilitated by Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhemi, remained secret until the Financial Times reported that a first meeting was held on April 9.



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