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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 September 2018

Iraq's interior minister meets with Saudi crown prince

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said the kingdom was ready and willing to co-operate with Iraq on various levels

Iraqi interior minister Qasim Al Araji, pictured here in Baghdad on July 16, 2017, has met with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Karim Kadim / AP
Iraqi interior minister Qasim Al Araji, pictured here in Baghdad on July 16, 2017, has met with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Karim Kadim / AP

Iraqi interior minister Qasim Al Araji has met with Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman during a visit to the kingdom.

The two men discussed bilateral co-operation and ways to combat terrorism in the meeting on Tuesday night, said a statement by the Iraqi interior ministry.

Mr Al Araji told the Saudi crown prince that Iraq had made great efforts to fight terrorism.

The crown prince, in turn, said Saudi Arabia supported Iraq’s government and people, adding that the kingdom was ready and willing to co-operate with Iraq on various levels.

Mr Al Araji arrived in the kingdom on Monday at the invitation of his Saudi counterpart, Abdulaziz bin Saud bin Nayef.

Despite their shaky relationship, Saudi Arabia has repeatedly expressed its support for the Iraqi government in its efforts to fight terrorism.

The kingdom last week congratulated the Iraqi government’s recapture of Mosul from ISIL, saying it would continue to “stand by [Baghdad] in its effort to combat extremism and terrorism”.

In an effort to improve relations between the two countries, Iraq’s prime minister Haider Al Abadi visited the kingdom last month.

Earlier in the year, Saudi foreign minister Adel Al Jubeir headed to Baghdad for talks with Mr Al Abadi, the first such visit since 2003.

Saudi Arabia has repeatedly expressed concern about Iran’s “interference” in the region, including through Iraq's mainly Shiite paramilitary force, known as the Hashed Al Shaabi, which has played a major role in fighting ISIL.

Riyadh cut ties with Iran in early 2016 after years of strained relations.

Although Saudi Arabia officially supports the fight against ISIL, Iraq and some other countries have argued it needs to do more to help defeat the extremists and their ideology.

* Additional reporting by Agence France-Presse

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