Arar crossing opens for transportation of goods and people for the first time since 1990


0
Arar crossing opens for transportation of goods and people for the first time since 1990 1
Arar crossing opens for transportation of goods and people for the first time since 1990 3

Iraq and Saudi Arabia have opened the Arar border crossing for trade for the first time in 30 years, the Iraqi border ports commission has said in a statement.

Top officials, including Iraqi interior minister and the Saudi ambassador to Iraq, travelled from Baghdad to formally open Arar, where a line of cargo trucks had been waiting since Wednesday morning.

A delegation from Riyadh was to open the Saudi Arabian side of the border crossing, which will be open to both goods and people, according to the statement.

Arar had remained closed since 1990 after the two countries severed ties following former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait.

Ties remained rocky since the 1990s and did not improve after Saddam’s toppling in the 2003 US-led invasion, as Riyadh looked at the new Shia-dominated political class with suspicion due to their ties to its regional rival Iran.

A thaw began in 2017 when then Saudi foreign minister Adel al-Jubeir travelled to Baghdad – the first such visit in decades – followed by a Riyadh trip by then-Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi.

The first commercial flights resumed between the two countries and officials began discussing Arar, with high-profile US diplomat Brett McGurk even visiting the crossing in 2017 to support its reopening.

But those plans were repeatedly delayed, with Arar only open on rare occasions to allow Iraqi religious pilgrims on their way to Mecca for Hajj.

The current Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi is said to have a close relationship with de facto Saudi ruler, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

In May this year, al-Kadhimi was to travel to Saudi Arabia in his first foreign trip as prime minister, but the visit was cancelled at the last minute after Saudi King Salman was hospitalised.

He has yet to make the trip, although Iraqi ministers have visited Riyadh to meet their counterparts. A top-level Saudi delegation travelled to Baghdad last week.

Arar crossing opens for transportation of goods and people for the first time since 1990 4A road sign in Arabic saying ‘Road to Jadidah’, top, and ‘Road to Iraq’, bottom, near the fence separating Saudi Arabia and Iraq, in the area around Arar city along the Saudi-Iraq border.

Baghdad sees Arar as a potential alternative to its crossings with eastern neighbour Iran, through which Iraq brings in a large share of its imports.

But pro-Iran factions in Iraq have stood firmly against closer ties with Saudi Arabia.

Ahead of Arar’s opening, one such group, identifying itself as Ashab al-Kahf, published a statement announcing its “rejection of the Saudi project in Iraq”.

“The intelligence cadres of the Islamic Resistance are following all the details of the Saudi enemy’s activities on the Iraqi border,” it warned.

Speaking to reporters on Tuesday evening, al-Kadhimi fired back against those describing the rapprochement as Saudi “colonialism”.

“This is a lie. It’s shameful,” he said. “Let them invest. Welcome to Iraq.”

Al-Kadhimi added that the Saudi investment could bring in a flood of new jobs to Iraq where more than one-third of youth are unemployed.

Iraq is the second-largest producer in the OPEC oil organisation, outranked only by Saudi Arabia.

Its oil, gas and electricity infrastructure is severely outdated and inefficient but low oil prices this year have stymied efforts to revamp it.

International firms and foreign countries have also complained of rampant corruption, thereby making investment difficult.

Al-Kadhimi’s government has sought to fast-track foreign investment, including Saudi support for energy and agriculture.

On his trip to Washington earlier this year, he agreed to a half-dozen projects that would use Saudi funding to finance the US energy firms.


Like it? Share with your friends!

0

What's Your Reaction?

hate hate
0
hate
confused confused
0
confused
fail fail
0
fail
fun fun
0
fun
geeky geeky
0
geeky
love love
0
love
lol lol
0
lol
omg omg
0
omg
win win
0
win
Webmaster One

0 Comments

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Choose A Format
Personality quiz
Series of questions that intends to reveal something about the personality
Trivia quiz
Series of questions with right and wrong answers that intends to check knowledge
Poll
Voting to make decisions or determine opinions
Story
Formatted Text with Embeds and Visuals
List
The Classic Internet Listicles
Countdown
The Classic Internet Countdowns
Open List
Submit your own item and vote up for the best submission
Ranked List
Upvote or downvote to decide the best list item
Meme
Upload your own images to make custom memes
Video
Youtube, Vimeo or Vine Embeds
Audio
Soundcloud or Mixcloud Embeds
Image
Photo or GIF
Gif
GIF format