(Photo Credit: Shafaq News)
Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al-Saud visited Baghdad on 2 February to reemphasize the countries’ bilateral relations and discuss economic developments in Iraq.
In a statement published by the official Iraqi News Agency, the Saudi Foreign Minister expressed the kingdom’s eagerness “to work towards consolidating bilateral relations and expanding cooperation and trade exchange between the two countries.”
At the joint press conference held between the Iraqi Foreign Minister and his Saudi counterpart, Fuad Hussein said that Iraq hopes they “will be supplied with electricity, either via the Saudi network or in the Gulf.”
Iraq has been working on a shared electrical power grid with Saudi Arabia. In January 2022, Iraq and Saudi Arabia signed a memorandum to link their electricity grids. On 15 July 2022, a deal was signed between the Saudi Electricity Company and the Iraqi Ministry of Electricity.
The project is set to establish an interconnection between Arar in northern Saudi Arabia and Yusufiya near Baghdad. The 435-kilometer-long electrical link is projected to have a transmission capacity of 1,000 megawatts and 400 voltage kilovolts.
During the press conference, Hussein mentioned that the Saudi visit “comes at a time marked by great challenges,” as the Iraqi dinar is reeling against the US dollar due to western sanctions on Iran.
Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan said that “economic movement in Iraq is in our interest, as it moves the region’s economy” and conveyed the kingdom’s support for “the Iraqi government’s effort to enhance stability.”
This statement came days after Fuad Hussein revealed that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MbS) pressured senior Iraqi officials to set up a face-to-face meeting between representatives of KSA and Iran.
This request, however, was not included in the agenda for the meeting. Hussein did not mention this resumption of talks between Riyadh and Tehran, though, in recent statements, he has clarified that “Baghdad adheres to the policy of dialogue and balance to stave off tensions that affect the Iraqi arena.”
After meeting with the foreign minister, Bin Farhan met with President Abdul Latif Rashid, Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani, and Parliament Speaker Mohammed al-Halbousi.