Saudi Arabia warms to Iraqi efforts to repair relationships with Arabs
Wall Street Journal
30 January 2002
RIYADH, Saudi Arabia -- In its first official response to Iraqi overtures, Saudi Arabia expressed support for Iraqi attempts to repair relations with Kuwait and the kingdom. Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz al-Saud was quoted by the Saudi Al Watan newspaper as saying "Iraq is an Arab country and it has the right to call for Arab reconciliation, especially with the kingdom and Kuwait." Saudi Arabia and Kuwait have so far refused to restore diplomatic relations with Iraq broken off after the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait.
Iraq has made diplomatic overtures in the past month toward Iran, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, as well as the United Nations, the European Union, Russia and China, in a campaign to avert any possible move by the U.S. to target Baghdad in its war on global terrorism, diplomats say.
In a further sign of a thawing of relations with Saudi Arabia, Iraq's state-controlled Al-Iraq newspaper quoted Iraqi Trade Minister Mohammed Mehdi Saleh as saying that Iraq had bought $1 billion of goods from the kingdom in recent years.
Also Tuesday, Iraq invited a U.N. human-rights expert to visit the country for the first time in a decade. Iraq extended the invitation to Cypriot national Andreas Mavrommatis, the official in charge of Iraq in the office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights.