Iraq president in Saudi Arabia to patch up ties
BAGHDAD - Agence France Presse
Iraqi President Fuad Masum speaks to the press during his visit to the holy city of Najaf on November 11, 2014. AFP PhotoIraqi President Fuad Masum's visit to Saudi Arabia is aimed at patching up long-strained relations between the two countries as Baghdad battles jihadist militants, a senior official said Nov. 12.
Masum arrived in Saudi Arabia on Tuesday and met with King Abdullah, the highest-level contact between the neighbouring countries in years.
No programme was announced for his talks on Wednesday.
The main focus of the visit is "normalising diplomatic and political relations between the two countries," Finance Minister Hoshyar Zebari, who is part of the Iraqi delegation, told AFP.
The two sides also discussed "cooperation in the field of fighting terrorism and economic, trade and security relations," Zebari said.
Former premier Nuri al-Maliki's eight years in office were marked by tensions with Sunni-dominated Saudi Arabia.
Earlier this year, Riyadh blamed Maliki's Shiite-led government's "sectarian policies" for the rise of the Islamic State jihadist group, which has overrun large parts of the country since June.
Baghdad shot back that Riyadh was "siding with terrorism" and responsible for providing militants with "financial and moral support."
But Iraq is now reaching out to countries in the region and beyond for help in driving IS back.