Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi brought the curtain down on his three day diplomatic tour of Iraq’s neighbours yesterday, meeting with Emir of Kuwait, Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmed Al-Jabir Al-Sabah and his Kuwaiti counterpart Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah.
Initial statements from both sides were extremely positive, just as they have been from Iran and Saudi Arabia. What remains to be seen is whether the promises made in those meetings do indeed translate into cooperation in fighting terrorism, improved diplomatic and economic ties, and support for the rehabilitation of Iraq in a post-ISIL era.
A statement from the official Kuwait News Agency declared that the two sides look at ways of improving “bilateral relations and [to] expand cooperation in all issues important to both countries.”
Discussions included cooperation in defeating terrorism, and a proposal to establish a fund to assist in the daunting task of reconstruction in areas previously held by ISIL. Kuwait, the Emir said, “is ready to provide all the needed support for its brotherly neighbour, Iraq.”
Abadi’s economic advisor Mazhar Mohamed Saleh, told Asharq Al-Awsat the fund could be seen as “being akin to the Marshall Plan [or] it can be viewed as a relief fund. During this time when we have an international military coalition against ISIL, it is a priority to set up such a fund among the countries involved.”
Abadi’s visits to Saudi Arabia and Kuwait in particular have been welcomed by their rulers, as they regard the PM to be a far less divisive leader in Iraq than predecessor Nouri al-Maliki.