Saudis Appoint First Envoy to Baghdad in 20 Years

Saudi Arabia has named an ambassador to Baghdad for the first time since Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait in 1990, Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshiyar Zebari (pictured) told Reuters on Tuesday.

"This is a very positive development," he added.

A Saudi Foreign Ministry spokesman said: "We nominated our ambassador in Jordan [Fahd al-Zaid] as ambassador for Iraq as well, but he will not be residing in Iraq."

Martin Kobler, the special representative of the United Nations secretary general for Iraq, welcomed the move as an “important step” toward normalizing ties between the two countries, according to the New York Times.

Saudi commentators said the move appeared to be motivated mostly the country's desire to strengthen its relationship with Iraq before the Arab League summit in Baghdad at the end of March.

A successful summit in Baghdad would help restore Iraq's place in the Arab world and perhaps contribute to allaying Gulf states' concerns about Iran's influence in post-war Iraq.

(Sources: Reuters, New York Times)

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