Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshiyar Zebari in Baghdad December 2011 (Photo: Reuters)
Iraqi President Jalal Talabani has accepted the credentials of the first Saudi ambassador to Baghdad since Saddam Hussein's 1990 invasion of Kuwait, the president's office said on Wednesday.
"Iraq is keen to build the best relations with the kingdom, which will benefit and be in the best interests of the two countries and the two peoples," Talabani said, according to a statement that also said that the credentials were presented Tuesday evening.
The appointment of Fahd bin Abdul Mohsen al-Zaid as non-resident ambassador to Iraq comes ahead of a landmark Arab summit in Baghdad, the first regional meeting to be held here since 1990.
Zaid told Talabani that Saudi Arabia wants to "improve economic and political relations with Iraq," according to the statement from the president's office.
Relations between Sunni-majority Saudi Arabia and Shiite-led Iraq have improved, with the two countries recently agreeing to tighter security cooperation and a prisoner exchange.
Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has a long history of rocky relations with Riyadh. The kingdom was widely seen as having backed his rival Iyad Allawi for the premiership after 2010 parliamentary elections.