Sisi makes first visit to Iraq by Egyptian leader in decades

Tripartite summit between Egypt, Iraq and Jordan in Baghdad
Iraqi President Barham Salih receives Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi at Baghdad International Airport in Baghdad, Iraq June 27, 2021. REUTERS/Khalid al-Mousily

June 27, 2021

CAIRO (Reuters) -Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi arrived in Baghdad on Sunday, becoming the first Egyptian head of state to travel to Iraq since former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait in 1990.

The conflict ruptured diplomatic ties between Iraq and Egypt but relations have improved in recent years with many senior officials from both countries exchanging visits.

Sisi’s visit to Iraq is part of a summit between Egypt, Jordan and Iraq, the fourth round of talks meant to strengthen security, economic, trade and investment cooperation between the three Arab countries.

Jordan’s King Abdullah arrived in Baghdad shortly after Sisi and was also received by Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi and Iraqi President Barham Salih.

The United States has been urging Iraq to boost ties with Arab nations to counter the Iranian influence in the country.

Last year Kadhimi, Sisi and Abdullah held a summit in Amman and were due to hold another one in Baghdad in April but it got delayed because of a train crash in Egypt that left more than 95 people dead.

In recent years, Iraq had signed cooperation deals in the energy, health and education sectors with Jordan and Egypt.

In February, Egypt signed 15 agreements and memoranda of understanding in various sectors, including oil, roads, housing, construction and trade.

Iraq is also planning to build a pipeline that will connect the southern city of Basra with Jordan’s Red Sea port of Aqaba. It is meant to export 1 million barrels per day of Iraqi crude to Jordan.

(Reporting by Amina Ismail; Editing by Toby Chopra)

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