UAE Reopens Embassy in Baghdad
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) Thursday reopened its embassy in Baghdad, which had been closed since Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in 1990.
Emirati diplomat Sheikh Ahmad bin Abdullah reopened the mission at a simple opening ceremony in which he hoisted his country's flag at the Rashid Hotel, which will temporarily house the embassy.
The embassy buildings have fallen into disrepair after years of neglect.
Sheikh Ahmad told reporters the reopening was "a reactivation of cooperation between two brotherly countries and aims to help charity associations deliver aid to the Iraqi people and help their mission in Iraq."
"Our role will consist of helping Emirati businessmen and tourists travel to Iraq and also help Iraqis, including businessmen, travel to the UAE," he said.
Number two at Iraq's foreign ministry Nabil Nejm said "the presence of diplomatic representation will certainly contribute to the strengthening of economic, cultural and social relations."
An Arab diplomat, talking on condition of anonymity, told AFP that the Emirati representation of four, two diplomats and two administrators arrived in Baghdad on Wednesday.
The UAE becomes the fourth country from the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) -- after Bahrain, Oman and Qatar -- to renew diplomatic representation in Iraq. Kuwait and Saudi Arabia have not re-established ties with Baghdad since the Gulf War.
Bahrain announced earlier this month that it plans to reopen its Baghdad embassy on "humanitarian grounds" after a 10-year break. Qatar renewed diplomatic ties following the 1991 Gulf War while Oman maintained relations even during the crisis.
Despite the ten-year freeze in relations, the UAE remained one of Iraq's top donors of humanitarian aid and annual trade between the two countries currently tops 400 million dollars.
They are also linked by a passenger and cargo ferry, which also stops in Bahrain - (AFP)
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