Last updated: 21 February, 2012

Iraq to quickly approve new Saudi ambassador

Iraq will approve the nomination of a non-resident Saudi ambassador, the Iraqi foreign minister said Tuesday, terming it a positive sign for the normalisation of ties between the two countries.

Saudi Arabia has not had an ambassador to Iraq since 1990, the year now-executed dictator Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait.

“We will accept and we certainly welcome” the presentation of “the Saudi ambassador in Amman’s credentials as non-resident ambassador” to Iraq, Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari told AFP.

It is “a very positive sign … for the normalisation of relations” between Iraq and Saudi Arabia, he said.

“Iraq’s response accepting this request will be quick,” Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki’s spokesman Ali Mussawi told AFP.

“The Iraqi government welcomes this step, and we consider it a first step, and we are waiting for more steps,” such as “the appointment of a resident ambassador in the country,” he said.

A Saudi official told AFP on Monday that the kingdom had nominated its ambassador in Jordan as the non-resident ambassador in Iraq.

“We presented today the nomination of the ambassador of the Kingdom for Jordan as the non-resident ambassador in Iraq,” the official told AFP on condition of anonymity.

The request was presented to the Iraqi embassy in Riyadh, the official said.