Iraqi President Barham Salih arrived in Kuwait on Sunday, kicking off his first Gulf tour since taking office in early October, including the United Arab Emirates and several countries. The statement of Iraqi presidency said “The President of the Republic, Dr. Barham Salih, arrived Sunday morning in Kuwait on an official visit aimed at enhancing cooperation between the two brotherly countries,”. The statement added “the Iraqi president was received by Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, the Speaker of the National Assembly Marzouq Ali Al-Ghanim and a number of ministers and state leaders.” The statement noted that the visit comes at the invitation of the Emir of Kuwait and within the framework of strengthening relations and cooperation between the two brotherly countries as well as discussing the joint files between Iraq and Kuwait. The Iraqi delegation included the Foreign Minister Mohammed Ali al-Hakim and mister of industry Salih al-Jubouri, and a number of officials, advisers and experts, according to the statement. The Iraqi presidency said earlier that “the Gulf tour of the president of the Republic, will include a state of the United Arab Emirates , in addition to a number of neighboring countries, “noting that” the tour aims to enhance the best relations with the Arab and Gulf depth of Iraq , and cooperation with his brothers in the establishment of the rules of good-neighborliness and economic integration and development and common cultural advancement to serve the peoples of the region and promotes concepts of international cooperation “.
In the Bayan Palace, Iraqi President Barham Salih discussed with the Emir of Kuwait Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah ways to strengthen efforts in the fight against terrorism and eliminate it. The Minister of the Amiri Diwan Ali Al-Jarrah Al-Sabah said in a press statement that the talks dealt with the bilateral relations between the two countries and strengthening and developing them in various fields and ways to support the security and stability of Iraq to achieve unity and territorial integrity. He added that the two parties discussed “issues of common interest and latest developments on the regional and international arenas, amid a friendly atmosphere that reflects the spirit of brotherhood.”
The Kuwaiti newspaper “Al-Rai” quoted the Iraqi President Barham Saleh as saying , that his visit “will see the delivery of a batch of Kuwaiti property and archives stored at Iraq’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs , while the rest will be delivered in the future . , as part of the gesture of goodwill of Iraq towards the brotherly State and the people of Kuwait . “” Saleh added, “on the eve of his arrival in Kuwait, that his visit” comes within the natural framework, (considering Iraq and Kuwait) two brotherly neighboring neighbors combined by close historical ties and true brotherhood and common aspirations towards the prosperous future between the two countries. He went on saying ” Kuwait has a wise and capable Emir , HH Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad, I am honored to meet with him to discuss ways of joint cooperation and open the horizons of integration and development between our two countries and peoples. ” He pointed out that Iraqi people are determined to cooperate with Kuwait to “overcome the painful past and start a new era of development and renaissance , without forgetting the suffering of the Kuwaiti people, and we have exceeded with the will of our people the era of the dictatorial regime which was aggressive to its neighbors.” Relations between the two countries were completely cut off when Iraq, led by President Saddam Hussein, invaded and occupied Kuwait for several months before the exit of Iraqi forces under the weight of an international military campaign.
An official Iraqi government in Baghdad said that the visit was agreed upon between Prime Minister and Barham Salih during a recent meeting between them, and the most prominent file is to inform the Gulf states that Iraq does not want to be in any axis of the Gulf crisis or the US-Iranian conflict in the region, and decided to be at a one distance from everyone, and to reassure some of the Gulf parties that the new government in particular, and the three presidencies in the country in general (the Republic, parliament and government) “not calculated to any regional player,” in reference to Iran. The spokesman also said that the Iraqi president will try to get achievements in his visit by getting support for the destroyed Iraqi cities from the Gulf countries, which he chose to start his tour within the political message as well.
In an article published in the international press on his vision of internal reform in Iraq and its regional relations, Barham Salih pointed out that “the new stage may be a turning point in the history of Iraq.” He pointed out that “although the political process since 2003 has achieved achievements especially on the level of democratic construction, but the Iraqis faced in return a number of challenges and dangers that resulted mostly from the structural imbalance in the system of governance and internal conflicts fueled by corruption and regional and international quarrels that led Iraq to move from one serious crisis to another ».
He pointed out that while Iraq has succeeded in regional and international cooperation in defeating «ISIS», the requirements of eradicating the roots of terrorism still call for more regional and international cooperation, as a matter of international peace and security, so work on the stability of Iraq will strengthen the willingness to work seriously on Stability of the Middle East, and to eliminate terrorism can not be achieved without the stability of Iraq and takes its natural role in the region ».
Barham Saleh stressed that «our national interest lies in good neighborliness and respect for the sovereignty of States and non-interference in their internal affairs, and reject the policy of axes, and adhere to the pivotal role of Iraq in building a regional security system based on mutual respect for sovereignty and the rights of the peoples of the region and that cooperation and economic integration, are the keys to the advancement of the entire Middle East region, by replacing the language of disagreement by agreement, and replace fighting by cooperation, and building on the common things , prior to differences ».
Iraqi Studies Unit
Rawabet Center for Research and Strategic Studies