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Foreign Minister Of Saudi Arabia, Iran's Chief Rival, Visits Iraq To Expand Ties

Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud (C). FILE PHOTO
Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud (C). FILE PHOTO

Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan visited Iraq on Thursday, August 27, for the first time since he was appointed the kingdom's foreign minister last year.

Referring to the visit on his Facebook page, Faisal bin Farhan also mentioned his meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister, Mustafa al-Kadhimi, who recently visited the United States.

Saudi Arabia wants to enhance relations with Iraq and prevent the Islamic Republic of Iran's influence in the Arab country. Baghdad also seeks more economic ties with Riyadh, especially in the energy sector.

Iraq has serious electricity shortages and partly relies on Iran for natural gas to power its electricity generating plants.

The United Arab Emirates' (UAE) newspaper, The National, reported that energy contracts were expected to be signed as a result of the Saudi foreign minister's visit to Iraq.

In 2018, Riyadh offered Baghdad to supply Iraq with very cheap electricity instead of importing it from Iran.

Speaking to Bloomberg at the time, Iraqi Ministry of Electricity spokesman, Musab Serri al-Mudaris, confirmed that Riyadh had agreed to build a 3,000-megawatt solar power plant (three times the size of Iran's Bushehr nuclear power plant) in Saudi Arabia within a year and sell the electricity to Iraq at a steep discount.

Saudis offered Iraq $ 21 megawatt per hour, which is a quarter of the price of Iran's electricity exports to Iraq.

Faisal bin Farhan's visit to Iraq comes a week after Mustafa al-Kadhimi traveled to the United States. During the visit, U.S. companies signed an $ 8 billion energy contract with Iraq.

The United States is working to end Iraq's dependence on Iranian natural gas and electricity imports.

After meeting his Saudi guest, al-Kadhimi referred to Saudi Arabia as "a true partner of Iraq," adding, "Iraq is looking forward to building distinguished relations based on the deep legacy of the two countries' historical ties."

For his part, the kingdom's chief of diplomacy said that his country was looking forward to the upcoming visit of al-Kadhimi to Riyadh to strengthen cooperation and activate the agreements concluded between the two sides.