The Iraqi presidency denied on Monday reports claiming that Iraq is playing the role of ‘mediator’ between Saudi Arabia and Iran, Al Arabiya reported.
The presidency published on its website a “denial and clarification” of news published by the media that “Iran offered negotiations with Saudi Arabia, and that the Iraqi President Barham Salih proposed to mediate and carry a message to Riyadh from his Iranian counterpart.”
The presidency denied the news, stressing “the need to take accurate information from its reliable sources.”
It added in a statement: “With regard to the details of President Barham’s recent tour, we reiterate what the President of the Republic said in all his meetings that Iraq does not play the role of mediation but rather seeks to spare Iraq the repercussions of the conflict in the region.”
The statement added: “Iraq is a point of convergence of common interests between its Arab and regional environment as part of its quest to consolidate friendship and brotherhood, while maintaining full sovereignty and respect for other countries.”
Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz received the new Iraqi President Salih during a visit to the Kingdom on Sunday, where talks focused on ways to enhance cooperation between the two countries.
King Salman hosted a lunch and “discussed regional developments” with Saleh, the official Saudi Press Agency said, after the Iraqi leader’s arrival in Riyadh following a visit to Iran.
There have been several visits in recent months between the two countries as Iraq seeks closer ties with Saudi Arabia as it looks to rebuild after the defeat of Daesh, Arab News reported.
Saleh arrived in Riyadh after a tour of the region, which included Iran, Jordan, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates.