Iraq, Saudi to strengthen ties, says new president
Iraq wants a strong and durable relationship with Saudi Arabia, Iraqi President Fuad Masoum told Asharq Al-Awsat, in his first major press interview since becoming Iraq’s head of state on July 24.
Masoum said he appreciated the regional and international support he has received from leaders, “especially from Saudi Arabia, [which] will help lay a healthy groundwork for dialogue and for strengthening these relations.”
He added: “We wish specifically for Iraq to have strong and lasting relations with Saudi Arabia, and we will be working towards this in the nearest future . . . We will be making a series of communications and initiatives.”
Following his appointment to the presidency, Masoum appointed Haider Al-Abadi as prime minister on August 11, mandating him to form a new government within 30 days. Outgoing premier Nuri Al-Maliki, who officially resigned on Thursday, initially rejected the move, calling it “unconstitutional.”
“Mr. Maliki defended his position in an attempt to renew his premiership of the council of ministers, and this is his right,” Masoum said.
He added, however, that he believed his appointment of Abadi was entirely constitutional. “I was convinced regarding the the correctness of my position. And I took my decision in light of this conviction,” he said, adding that he was “one of those who drafted the Iraqi constitution.”
In an answer to a question about any expectations he had about Iraq’s new government, he said: “[I expect] the formation of a national political committee comprising the three leaderships [Sunni, Shi’ite, Kurd] and leaders of the coalitions . . .and the formation of a high defense council, which, in addition to leaders will also include the three ministers of defense, foreign affairs and finance, as well as military figures and coalition leaders.”
By Hamza Mustafa