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Iraq taking up role to reduce regional tensions, says foreign ministry

Baghdad is working to restore its relationship with neighboring states.

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Iraq is holding on a positive role in “reducing” regional tensions, the country’s foreign ministry said on Tuesday. Baghdad has been working to reinstate connections with its regional neighbors since the US-led annexation of 2003.

“Proactive diplomacy is a method we are devoted to. It is not an option, but a path that promotes Iraq’s interests,” Ahmad Al-Sahaf, the ministry’s spokesperson said.

“We are working diligently to promote collective initiatives to enhance the security and stability of the region,” Al-Sahaf held.

Iraq hosted summits with diplomats from Iran and regional powers to de-escalate tensions in Baghdad earlier this month. The meetings “focused on reducing tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia,” a western diplomat who was briefed on the talks held. Those who were part of the dialogues were “senior officials, rather than ministers”, the diplomat also stated.

Baghdad is a natural spot for such discussions since Iraq is an approachable nation to the states involved and is in a position to enable such talks because it is pretentious by the tensions between them, Sajad Jiyad, an Iraqi analyst with the Century Foundation said.

“Iraq in the past has hosted such talks and facilitated messages and communication between them. Even when the US and Iran began talks on the nuclear deal, they also held talks in Baghdad,” held Jiyad. Officials from Riyadh told Arabic media outlets that they had not been involved in any meetings in Iraq. Saudi government officials have not reacted to a request for comment.

“Neither side would want to make a big deal out of it at the moment because not much has happened. It’s just preliminary talks, getting to know the other side and setting the agenda,” Jiyad said.

Al-Sahaf said Baghdad is “committed to providing security for diplomatic missions” following several rocket attacks in the Green Zone and military bases hosting US and foreign troops across the country.

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