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Iraq to host regional leaders’ summit today


Iraq to host regional leaders’ summit today

Iraq to host regional leaders summit today
Photo: AP File Photo

Iraq will host a meeting of regional leaders in Baghdad today in a bid to de-escalate recent tensions.

In a move that may signal the emergence of a new Middle East power broker, recently elected Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi is convening the meeting to mediate new and open dialogues, in particular those between the Gulf States and Iran. Officials say the meeting may help mend Saudi-Iranian relations which were severed in 2016. The summit will also discuss the war in Yemen, Lebanon’s economic woes, and the crisis in Afghanistan.

Although members of the G20 are invited to observe, French President Emmanuel Macron will be the only non-regional attendee. Turkey’s President Erdogan and Iran’s new President Raisi will attend, as well as other regional leaders. Syria’s Bashar al-Assad failed to get an invite.

The summit marks a step towards cooperative regionalism at the helm of Kadhimi’s leadership, which is seeking to strengthen Iraq’s diplomatic power. Kadhimi has been focusing on bilateral relations with regional powers like Jordan, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Turkey, and perhaps most importantly, Iran. Should he succeed, Iraq might carve-out an influential role in regional relations.

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