Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi held a meeting on Saturday with Iraqi President Barham Salih at Baghdad Presidential Palace to discuss bilateral relations and other issues of mutual concern ahead of the start of the Baghdad Conference on Cooperation and Partnership later today in the Iraqi capital.
El-Sisi and Salih reviewed the overall joint bilateral relations between the two brotherly countries, as well as ways to enhance areas of economic, commercial and investment cooperation.
The Iraqi president welcomed El-Sisi’s visit to Baghdad, stressing Iraq's keenness to continue intensive coordination and consultation with Egypt at all levels, according to a statement by the Egyptian presidency.
Salih affirmed that such coordination and consultation comes in light of the deep-rooted relations and ties that bind the two countries together.
It also comes, Salih added, in light of the importance and centrality of the Egyptian role in the region and support for Iraq, which contributes to facing the common challenges that the Arab nation is facing.
From his side, El-Sisi affirmed Egypt's pride in the historical relations with brotherly Iraq, stressing Cairo's keenness to strengthen its Arab national role, the presidential statement said.
El-Sisi also stressed the necessity of providing full support to the Iraqi people in all fields, whether at the bilateral level or within the framework of the tripartite cooperation mechanism with the Kingdom of Jordan, in support of mutual cooperation relations and the process of joint Arab action.
The Egyptian president arrived earlier on Saturday in Iraq when he was received by Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi at Baghdad International Airport.
President El-Sisi met with the Emir of Qatar Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani on Saturday morning on the sidelines of the conference, according to Rady.
Back in Baghdad
El-Sisi’s visit to Baghdad is his second to the Iraqi capital in two months.
In June, on the first official visit by an Egyptian president to Iraq in 30 years, El-Sisi attended the trilateral summit with Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi and Jordanian King Abdullah II to strengthen economic cooperation between the three countries. The summit was the fourth between the three leaders since March 2019.
During their summits, the three countries hammered out the details of a long list of cooperation agreements in the fields of energy, health, construction, reconstruction, agriculture, pharmaceuticals, and food.
Egyptian-Iraqi relations witnessed a remarkable boom during the last few years and entered a new phase of cooperation, with the economic file topping the field of cooperation between Cairo and Baghdad.
The trade exchange between Egypt and Iraq increased from $800 million in 2015 to $1.650 billion in 2018, which is considered the largest number of trade exchanges since 2003, according to data from Egypt’s State Information Service (SIS).
Sisi meets Kuwait premier
During a meeting on the sidelines of the Baghdad conference, El-Sisi told Kuwaiti Prime Minister Sabah Al-Khalid Al-Sabah that "the security of the Gulf region is one of the main pillars of the Arab national security, and is closely linked to the Egyptian national security."
El-Sisi and Al-Sabah agreed to maintain joint efforts to enhance cooperation and coordination among Arab countries to face the growing challenges and threats to regional security and the stability of Arab countries and peoples, according to Rady.
El-Sisi and Al-Sabah exchanged views on the most prominent files on the regional arena, and the discussions reflected a mutual understanding of ways to deal with these files.
The president’s participation in the Baghdad conference comes within the framework of Egypt's keenness on supporting Iraq in restoring its active and balanced role at the regional level and also for guaranteeing its security and stability, according to Rady.
The conference, which is attended by a number of regional and international leaders, is set to discuss ways to resolve the region's crises, with a view to creating better circumstances for establishing economic partnership and cooperation between Iraq and neighboring countries.
Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Jordan, Qatar, the UAE, France, Turkey, and Iran, as well as the Arab League, the Gulf Cooperation Council, and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation are confirmed for the event.
Kuwaiti Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah Khalid Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, Secretary General of the Gulf Cooperation Council Nayef Al Hajraf, Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani and Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian arrived in the Iraqi capital to attend the event.