Kuwait underlines Iraq stability key global concern

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RED SEA, Jordan, Dec 20, (Agencies): Kuwait on Tuesday said the stability of neighboring Iraq is among the international community’s perennial concerns, underlining the region’s cognizance of the need to protect security in Baghdad. The entire region will be affected in the event any form of unrest breaks out in any country, His Highness the Amir’s representative and Prime Minister Sheikh Ahmad Nawaf Al-Sabah told a French-sponsored Baghdad Conference for Cooperation and Partnership in Jordan’s Dead Sea, which brings together a number of leaders from around the region.

Leaders stand for a family photo during the second Baghdad Conference for Cooperation and Partnership, at the Dead Sea, Jordan, Dec. 20, 2022. Leaders from the Middle East and Europe gathered in Jordan Tuesday in a conference focused on bolstering security and stability in Iraq. (AP)

The international community and Gulf Arab states in particular, are well aware of the “significant position” Iraq holds on the global stage, the Kuwaiti premier emphasized, saying Baghdad deserves to once again play an “active role” towards world affairs. With that in mind, he said that Kuwait has always stood by the side of its larger neighbor, given the “intertwined fates” of the two countries, citing the copious amount of Kuwaiti aid that has poured into Baghdad in recent years. Given the “scope” of bilateral relations, the Kuwaiti Prime Minister said it would behoove the two countries to resolve any remaining bones of contention, which will be instrumental in ushering in greater levels of progress in ties. Jordanian King Abdullah II said Tuesday that the Baghdad Conference for Cooperation and Partnership aims to support Iraq, its sovereignty, security and stability, and develop cooperation with Iraq, in a way that enhances security, stability and economic integration in the region.

This came in a statement by Jordan Royal Diwan, after King Abdullah met with Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammad Al-Sudani and his accompanying delegation on Tuesday, as they discussed the latest regional developments, foremost the Palestinian case. The two sides stressed the importance of maintaining coordination and consultation on issues of common concern Al-Sudani praised Jordan’s hosting of the second session of the Baghdad Conference, and added that Iraq will continue to work with Jordan in combating extremism and terrorism.

Leaders from the Middle East and Europe gathered in Jordan Tuesday in a conference focused on bolstering security and stability in Iraq. The meeting included high-level officials from regional rivals Saudi Arabia and Iran, along with leaders from France, Iraq, Turkey, Egypt, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman and the European Union. The countries said the goal was to show “support for Iraq, its sovereignty, security, and stability, as well as its political process, its economic and development progress, and its efforts to rebuild.” Iraq’s stability and security have been shaken for decades by internal and external conflicts.

The 2003 U.S.-led invasion led to years of intense violence and sectarian strife, including the creation of the Islamic State extremist group and the empowerment of Iran-backed political factions and militias. More recently, the country has been paralyzed by political gridlock, with the main dividing line running between Iran’s allies and opponents. Recently, Baghdad has attempted to assume the role of mediator between Iran and Saudi Arabia. But a series of talks between the two in Iraq have come to a halt, with Tehran reportedly accusing the kingdom of inciting protests in Iran.

Tuesday’s gathering was held as a follow- up to the Baghdad Conference for Cooperation and Partnership convened in Iraq last year with France co-organizing. Paris has taken an increasingly active role in the region in recent years, with President Emmanuel Macron also attempting to intervene to resolve the political crisis in Lebanon. Speaking at Tuesday’s conference, Macron said France is attached to the stability of the region, which he said is struggling with “deadlocks, divisions, foreign meddling and security issues” in the interests of promoting peace and security in the broader Mediterranean basin. “Iraq probably is, given the past decades, one of the main victims of regional destabilization,” Macron said. “We need to be able to … overcome the divisions of the moment.” There were no direct meetings scheduled between Iranian and Saudi officials during the conference, but the foreign minister of both countries spoke separately in the opening session.

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