Heads of government from Jordan, Egypt and Iraq hold summits in Baghdad
(June 28, 2021.) / JNS) The leaders of Iraq, Egypt and Jordan met in Baghdad on Sunday to discuss a range of regional issues, from the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to economic cooperation.
The summit was the fourth in a series of meetings focusing on trilateral cooperation that began in Cairo in March 2019. The three heads of state and government last met last year in Amman, Jordan.
The summit on Sunday marked the first visit by an Egyptian president to Iraq since the severance of ties between the two countries following the invasion of Kuwait by Saddam Hussein in 1990.
“The heads of state and government stressed the need to intensify consultation and coordination between the three countries on key regional issues,” the Egyptian Presidency said in a statement Reuters.
In February, Egypt and Iraq signed 15 agreements and letters of intent in multiple sectors, including oil, construction and trade, after Iraq approved in December an extension of a contract to supply Egypt with 12 million barrels of light oil for 2021. Reuters reported.
According to the report, Iraq plans to build a pipeline from Basra to the Jordanian port of Akaba on the Red Sea, through which it will export 1 million barrels of crude oil a day.
Hafsa Halawa, a non-resident scientist with the Middle East Institute think tank in Washington, said Reuters that the “Arab Alliance” holds potential for real economic benefits for all three parties, especially in the field of energy diplomacy.
After the meeting on Sunday, Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi said that “Iraq needs to be isolated from regional intervention,” an obvious reference to Iran. AP reported.
Iran is heavily entrenched in Iraq and operates deputy Shiite militias, collectively known as the People’s Mobilization Forces (PMF). On the day of the summit, the United States announced that it had attacked Iran-backed forces in Iraq and Syria in retaliation for drone strikes on US forces in Iraq.
Halawa said that “there remains hope that certain aspects of this alliance can easily pull Iraq out of Iran’s sphere of influence,” although she warned that Iraq is “rushing back into the arms of the US” and stuck between Washington and Tehran.
The US State Department welcomed the trilateral summit, which it said would help “Strengthening economic relations and security cooperation between Egypt, Iraq and Jordan. ”The United States has long called for improved relations between Iraq and other Arab states in order to counter Iranian influence in the region.