Saudi, Iraq laud 'leap' in ties

Saudi Arabia and Iraq have made a "qualitative leap" in relations, they said Tuesday (June 20th) after a visit by Prime Minister Haider al-Abbadi that followed years of strained ties, AFP reported.

It was al-Abbadi's first visit to Saudi Arabia since he became prime minister in 2014.

After a quarter century without diplomatic relations, Riyadh sent an ambassador back to Baghdad last year.

But he left amid controversy, reflecting the challenge of improving relations despite al-Abbadi's support for better ties.

In a joint statement, Iraq and Saudi Arabia expressed "their happiness over... a qualitative leap in relations" after al-Abbadi met King Salman on Monday.

Talks also included Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef and Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

The talks stressed the need "to explore opportunities to support economic and trade relations", the statement said.

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