With tripartite summit, Iraq, Egypt and Jordan present a “common vision” for the Middle East
BAGHDAD, Iraq – Egypt, Jordan and Iraq agreed to boost security and economic cooperation at a tripartite summit on Sunday that saw an Egyptian head of state visit Iraq for the first time in three decades.
The visits of Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi and King Abdullah II of Jordan come as Iraq seeks closer ties with United States’ Arab allies in the Middle East.
Iraq is also seeking to establish itself as a mediator between Arab countries and Iran, after apparently hosting talks in April between Tehran and Riyadh.
Sisi and Abdullah met with Iraqi President Barham Saleh and Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhemi, Saleh saying the meeting was “a strong message amid huge regional challenges”.
“Iraq’s takeover paves the way for an integrated system for our region based on the fight against extremism, respect for sovereignty and economic partnership,” Saleh said on Twitter.
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The summit held between Kadhemi and his guests addressed regional issues, as well as ways to strengthen cooperation between Iraq, Jordan and Egypt in the areas of security, energy and trade, according to a joint statement released at the end of the meeting.
The leaders discussed a “political solution” to the 10-year civil war in Syria on the basis of UN resolutions “which would preserve its security and stability and provide adequate conditions for the return of refugees.”
The conflict in Syria has claimed hundreds of thousands of lives and displaced millions of people, with refugees flooding the borders of neighboring countries, including Jordan, which lacks resources and faces economic hardship.
The leaders commended the ongoing efforts to restore stability in Libya and Yemen, and called for the departure of foreign forces and mercenaries from Libya.
They called for redoubled efforts to achieve a “just and comprehensive peace” between Israel and the Palestinians, and for the establishment of an independent Palestinian state.
They also praised Egypt’s role in negotiating an end to deadly hostilities between Israel and the Gaza Strip terror leaders, Hamas, in May, and Cairo’s pledge to help rebuild the enclave. coastal.
Kadhemi set the tone at the start of the summit, saying the three countries “will try to shape a common vision … through cooperation and coordination” regarding Syria, Libya, Yemen and Israel.
Sisi is the first Egyptian president to visit Baghdad since Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein’s troops invaded Kuwait in 1990.
Relations between Baghdad and Cairo have improved in recent years, and officials from both countries have paid visits.
The King of Jordan visited in early 2019 for the first time in 10 years.
The media revealed that Iranian and Saudi officials met in Baghdad in April, their first high-level meeting since Riyadh severed diplomatic ties with Tehran in 2016.
Iraqi analyst Ihsan al-Shamari said Sunday’s summit was “a message to the United States that Iraq will not only have relations with Iran at the expense of Arab countries.”
In a statement, US State Department spokesman Ned Price said Washington welcomed the “historic” visit and called it “an important step in strengthening regional economic and security ties. between Egypt, Iraq and Jordan and to advance regional stability ”.
Analysts have long said Iraq is a battleground for influence between arch enemies Washington and Tehran with whom it enjoys good relations.