Iraq’s PM to visit Iran, Saudi Arabia, US on first foreign tour

Iraq’s new Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi will visit Iran next week as part of his first foreign tour since taking office.

Iraqi National Security Adviser Qasim al-Araji said Wednesday that the tour aimed at discussing cooperation in various fields will also take Kadhimi to Saudi Arabia and the US, the Arabic-language al-Mayadeen television news network reported on Wednesday.

“I am confident that the countries of the region, in line with positive cooperation with Baghdad, will offer solutions to the existing problems in Iraq,” he said.

He added that a timetable for the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq will be discussed with the US side.

“Iraq does not want a dispute with any country and we want our relations to be good with everyone while preserving the sovereignty of Iraq,” he said, stressing that Iraq’s independence and a timetable for the pullout of American forces were the demands of the Iraqi nation.

Iraqi lawmakers unanimously approved a bill on January 5, demanding the withdrawal of all foreign military forces led by the United States from the country following the assassination of Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani, the commander of the Quds Force of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps, along with the deputy head of the Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, and their companions in a US airstrike authorized by President Donald Trump near Baghdad International Airport two days earlier.

Elsewhere in his remarks, Araji pointed out that “Iraq has an important role and geographical position, which is respected by the countries of the region,” expressing “reassurance and optimism that everyone will deal positively with Iraq.”

This will be Kadhimi’s first foreign tour since becoming prime minister on May 7, after the Iraqi parliament approved a new government following nearly six months of political wrangling amid protests demanding economic reforms.

In a congratulatory message to Kadhimi, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed hope that the two countries would further enhance ties in various fields in line with common interests.

Rouhani also expressed optimism that Tehran and Baghdad would work more diligently to establish peace and stability in the region during Kadhimi’s tenure given the deep-rooted and historical ties between the two neighboring and Muslim nations.

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