Sisi makes the Egyptian leader’s first visit to Iraq in decades

Cairo (Reuters) – Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi arrived in Baghdad on Sunday, on the occasion of the first visit by an Egyptian head of state to Iraq since Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait in 1990.

The conflict severed diplomatic ties between Iraq and Egypt, but these have improved in recent years as many high-ranking officials from both countries exchanged visits.

The United States is urging Iraq to strengthen ties with Arab countries to counter Iran’s influence in the country, and Sisi’s visit is part of a summit meeting between Egypt, Jordan and Iraq.

This is their fourth round of talks, aimed at strengthening security, economic, trade and investment cooperation. In recent years Iraq had signed cooperation agreements in the energy, health and education sectors with Jordan and Egypt.

Jordan’s King Abdullah arrived in Baghdad shortly after Sisi and was also received by Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi and Iraqi President Barham Salih.

Kadhimi, Sisi and Abdullah held a summit in Amman last year and were due to hold another in Baghdad in April, which was delayed after a train crash in Egypt, leaving dozens of deaths and injuries.

Egypt signed 15 agreements and letters of intent in sectors such as oil, roads, housing, construction and trade in February after the Iraqi cabinet extended its contract in December to supply 12 million barrels of Basra light crude to the Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation (EGPC) had approved in 2021.

“The President reaffirmed Egypt’s ambition to develop bilateral cooperation with Iraq into a sustainable framework for economic integration and strategic cooperation, especially in view of the major challenges facing the region,” said a statement by the Egyptian Presidency.

Iraq is also planning to build a pipeline that will export 1 million barrels of Iraqi crude oil a day from the southern city of Basra to the Jordanian port of Aqaba on the Red Sea.

(Reporting by Amina Ismail; Editing by Toby Chopra and Alexander Smith)

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