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Faizel Patel, Radio Islam News - 05-04-2019

(Twitter: @FaizelPatel143)

 Photo: Arab News Photo: Arab News

Saudi Arabia has reopened a consulate in Baghdad for the first time in nearly 30 years and announced a one billion dollars aid package for Iraq.

The consulate, which will issue visas to Iraqis, was opened at a ceremony in Baghdad’s heavily fortified Green Zone, during which Iraq’s Foreign Minister Mohamed Alhakim raised a green Saudi flag over the building.

Saudi Arabia's trade minister Majid bin Abdullah al-Qasabi says the reopening of the consulate, which marked a "new phase" in relations between Riyadh and Baghdad.

Qasabi says Saudi Arabia would provide Iraq with one billion dollars in loans for development projects plus $500m to boost exports and a gift of a 100,000-seat sports stadium to be built on Baghdad's outskirts.

He says the 13 agreements between the two countries which were in their final stages will “have a significant impact on raising the level of cooperation between the two countries.

Qasabi says three more diplomatic branches are expected to be opened in other Iraqi cities soon.