Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad al-Siniora arrived in Baghdad yesterday at the head of a large official delegation to discuss with the Iraqi government bilateral issues relating to investment, trade and oil. This is the second high-level Lebanese delegation visiting Baghdad in recent weeks, the first being that of Sa’ad al-Hariri, the leader of the parliamentary majority and the son of the slain former Prime Minister Rafiq al-Hariri.
[It was reported in the Arab press that one of al-Siniora’s primary objective is to seek the supply of Iraqi oil at preferential rates. On its part, the Iraqi government would welcome Lebanese investment and entrepreneurship.
After a long period of estrangement between Iraq and its Arab neighbors there seems to be a serious attempt by the Arab neighbors to mend relations with Baghdad. Recent visitors to Iraq included the Jordanian monarch and the foreign minister of the United Arab Emirates. Many Arab countries have announced their decision to send ambassadors to Baghdad. It is an effort by the Sunni regimes to try to offset Iran’s influence in Iraq. For now, however, Saudi Arabia remains on the sidelines.]
Al-Mada, Iraq, August 21, 2008