With trilateral summit, Iraq, Egypt and Jordan offer ‘shared vision’ for Middle East

BAGHDAD, Iraq – Egypt, Jordan and Iraq agreed on Sunday to enhance security and economic cooperation at a trilateral summit, the first visit by an Egyptian head of state in three decades.

The visits of Egyptian President Abdel-Fatah al-Sisi and Jordan’s King Abdullah II came as Iraq was attempting to get closer to the United States’ Arab allies in the Middle East.

After reportedly hosting talks between Tehran and Riyadh in April, Iraq is trying to position itself as a mediator between the Arab countries and Iran.

Sisi and Abdullah met with Iraqi President Barham Saleh and Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhemi, with Saleh saying the encounter “was a clear message amid huge regional challenges.”

“Iraq’s recovery paves the way for a unified system for our region to fight extremism, built on respect for sovereignty and economic partnership,” Saleh said on Twitter.

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According to a joint statement issued at the end of the meeting, the summit between Kadhemi and his guests discussed regional issues as well as ways to enhance cooperation between Iraq, Jordan and Egypt in the fields of security, energy and trade.

Iraqi President Barham Saleh (2-L) and Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kazemi (R) visit Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi (2-R), and Jordan’s King Abdullah II (L) in the capital Baghdad on June 27 welcomed. 2021. (Ahmed al-Rubay/AFP)

The leaders discussed a “political solution” to Syria’s 10-year civil war based on UN resolutions “that would preserve its security and stability and provide adequate conditions for the return of refugees.”

The Syrian conflict has killed hundreds of thousands and displaced millions, refugees flood the borders of neighboring countries including Jordan, which lacks resources and faces economic difficulties.

The leaders welcomed the ongoing efforts to restore stability in Libya and Yemen and called for the withdrawal of foreign forces and mercenaries from Libya.

He called for renewed efforts to reach a “just and comprehensive peace” between Israel and the Palestinians and the creation of an independent Palestinian state.

He also lauded Egypt’s role in negotiations to end deadly hostilities between Israel and the Gaza Strip’s militant ruler Hamas in May and Cairo’s pledge to help rebuild the coastal enclave.

Kadhemi set the tone at the start of the summit by saying that the three countries would “strive to shape a common vision through cooperation and coordination” regarding Syria, Libya, Yemen and Israel.

Egypt’s first president to visit Baghdad since Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein’s troops invaded Kuwait in 1990.

Iraqi President Barham Saleh (left), receives his Egyptian counterpart Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in the capital Baghdad on June 27, 2021. (Photo by Ahmed al-Rubay/AFP)

Relations between Baghdad and Cairo have improved in recent years and officials from both countries have visited.

The King of Jordan visited for the first time in 10 years in early 2019.

Media reports have shown that Iranian and Saudi officials met in Baghdad in April, their first high-level meeting since Riyadh broke diplomatic ties with Tehran in 2016.

Iraqi analyst Ahsan al-Shamari said Sunday’s summit was “a message to the United States that Iraq will build ties with Iran not only at the expense of Arab countries.”

In a statement, US State Department spokesman Ned Price said Washington welcomed the “historic” visit, and called it “to strengthen regional economic and security ties between Egypt, Iraq and Jordan, and to advance regional stability.” An important step”.

Analysts have long said Iraq is a battleground for influence between arch-enemy Washington and Tehran, with which it maintains good relations.

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