WORLD / MID-EAST
Iraq PM seeks to soothe concerns on visit to Riyadh
Published: Apr 01, 2021 07:38 PM
Iraq will never become a launchpad for attacks on Saudi Arabia, Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhemi pledged Wednesday during a long-awaited visit to the kingdom aimed at forging closer economic and security ties.

In January, explosive-laden drones crashed into the main royal palace in Riyadh, with American media citing US officials as saying they were launched from neighboring Iraq.

Saudi officials did not publicly disclose any details on the reported attack on the sprawling Al-Yamama complex, the official residence and office of King Salman as well as the main base of the royal court.

But the news raised alarm in a country that has frequently come under missile and drone attacks from Houthi rebels in Yemen, where Riyadh-backed forces are engaged in a six-year conflict.

A relatively unknown militant group in Iraq calling itself the Righteous Promise Brigade claimed responsibility for the strike, but it was considered by security experts to be a front for more entrenched militias.

Kadhemi said the group's claim was not true and insisted that the attack was not launched from Iraq.

"We will not allow any attack on the kingdom," he said after an hours-long meeting with Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

"There haven't been any attacks" from Iraq, he said, adding "there have been attempts by some to ... disrupt relations" between Iraq and Saudi Arabia. 

Aside from a discussion on border security, Kadhemi said he and his delegation of senior ministers sought to further boost trade and economic cooperation with Saudi Arabia.
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