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Regional heavyweight Saudi Arabia's deep strategic ties with Iraq highlighted Muhammad Bin Salman a friend who realized early what the region needs: Al-Kadhimi
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 20 - 07 - 2020

JEDDAH — Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi In an interview with Okaz/Saudi Gazette, described Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman as a friend who has realized early that the region was in urgent need of peace and a sustained scheme for development and accordingly he has launched his future vision for Saudi Arabia. Here are the excerpts:
Q. At the outset, how do you look at your upcoming visit to the Kingdom, what are the issues that will figure mainly in the talks with the Saudi leadership?
Answer: I am very keen on the visit to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as it is a heavyweight regionally and globally and because I give primary priority to further bolstering our relations with the Kingdom. And I see the most favorable opportunity to make a great transition in the relationship between the two countries.
We consider the Kingdom as a partner enjoying strategic depth. We also see Iraq as having deep bonds with Saudi Arabia. There are strong historical links between the Iraqi and Saudi peoples, and there's a great yearning among Iraqis to revive these bonds. We want to build on that in order to launch a new phase of cooperation, solidarity and integration. I am confident that Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman and my friend, the Crown Prince, have similar desires.
Q: To what extent the Saudi-Iraqi rapprochement can contribute to repositioning and fortifying the Arab House?
Answer: We have had close and deep ties with our brothers in the Kingdom that extend throughout history, and we are determined to build on them. The region has suffered from turbulences during some phases in the past, and then came terrorism, sectarian fanaticism and interference by external powers that have made matters worse in the last decade.
Q: What do you think of the needs for our region?
Answer: Our region desperately needs peace and a scheme for development. This is something that Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman had realized early when he launched his future vision for Saudi Arabia. We need to understand the common challenges that we are experiencing, the first of which is the expected end of the oil era and the transformations in the global economy that should make us think together in unique ways that are different from that of the previous period.
Q: How can these relationships be strengthened by building strategic commercial and economic partnerships that will reflect on the well-being of the two peoples and give a strong impetus to the relations?
Answer: We look forward to working together to enhance and develop economic cooperation between our two countries and to open broad horizons for economic integration in various fields. Iraq faces economic, security and health challenges, but we have all the capabilities to overcome them, relying on the will of our people and in cooperation with our brothers and friends.
We are here to discuss how to strengthen the ties between the two countries and we believe that the appropriate entry point is economic integration, in particular opening the door for Saudi investments to Iraq, launching projects of strategic importance for both parties, opening the border point and promoting trade.
Q: What is the future of cooperation between the two countries in combating terrorism, rejecting extremism and adopting the values of moderation and tolerance?
Answer: As brothers, we faced great challenges and we have always come out of them with solutions. We rely heavily on God as well as on our Arab and Islamic depth, and on our roots in our land. The fire of terrorism that raged in the recent years did not differentiate any country or spared anyone in the region. This makes us more determined than in any period in the past to find solutions that will bring security, peace and prosperity throughout our region and the world.
Q: What do you look at achieving from Baghdad to Riyadh?
Answer: We must constantly look ahead and create the appropriate atmosphere that would fulfill the aspirations of our peoples to live in harmony and peace. And our visit to the Kingdom will be a step in that direction.

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