Prime Minister Fouad Siniora traveled to Baghdad last week, becoming the first Lebanese leader to visit Iraq since the fall of Saddam Hussein. This was a further step toward Iraqi reconciliation with its Arab neigh
bours and a step toward the restoration of commercial relations between two former trading partners.
The announcement came a day after Iraqi government spokesman Ali Al-Dabbagh announced that seven Arab countries are set to reopen their embassies in Baghdad this year. These countries include Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, Algeria and Morocco.
Jordan also recently announced that it would reopen its embassy to Iraq after the historic visit of King Abdullah, who became the first Arab head of state to do so since the 2003 invasion that toppled the former regime.
Lebanon is only one of five Arab states to currently have an embassy in Iraq, alongside Syria, Palestine, Yemen, Lebanon and Tunisia, which it opened in 2006. Official relations had been strained for six years between 1994 and 2000 when Lebanon broke its relations with Iraq in 1994 following the murder of an Iraqi dissident in Lebanon.
Sinioria travelled to Baghdad to discuss trade and energy, his spokesman quoted by the AFP as saying: “The discussions with Iraqi leaders will be on bilateral relations and particularly trade and oil.”
Renewed relations with Lebanon would be a positive sign for Maliki’s government, and both countries share a similar recent history. Continue Reading