Regional rivals gather in Iraq in blow to US-backed Arab NATO
Iraq’s parliamentary summit has brought together neighbouring countries in 'a display of rare regional unity', further sidelining a US initiative to form an Arab NATO.
Iran Press/Middle East: Baghdad's one-day summit on Saturday, hosted by Iraq's Parliament speaker, Mohammed al-Halbusi, brings together representatives from Iraq, Iran, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria, and Kuwait.
Speaking on Friday, al-Halbusi said: "Iraq, proud, prideful and victorious over terrorism, is honoured by the presence of its neighbours in Baghdad."
Iraq's deputy parliament speaker, Bashir Haddad, said the summit will have a significant impact on cooperation, security and stability in the region, Iran Press reported.
This summit is considered a valuable initiative and opportunity for strategic partnerships between Iraq and its neighbours, he added.
Iran’s parliament speaker, Ali Larijani is represented by MP Alaeddine Boroujerdi, the former chairman of the Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Commission.
The Iranian parliamentary representative also described the Baghdad summit as 'an important step' in advancing 'regional unity'.
The summit marks yet another important watershed in a recent booming of diplomatic cooperation in a region bedevilled by bloody conflicts in recent years.
Despite US presence in Iraq seeking to sideline Tehran, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi have exchanged what have been described as 'historic' visits in the past two months.
The summit in Iraq is a major diplomatic development for Damascus, marking the first time in years it participates in a gathering also attended by Turkey and Saudi Arabia.
Both Syria and Iraq are buoyed by their triumphant routing of terrorists and other militant groups, with Iran providing crucial military advisory assistance at the most sensitive junctures.
Saudi Arabia’s participation in the heightened regional partnership initiative contrasts with US plans to form an 'Arab NATO' to counter Iran in the region.