Iraq-Saudi Arabia Border Crossing Opens for Trade

AL-NUKHAIB, Iraq (Reuters) -
A truck carrying aid donated by Saudi Arabia makes its way into Iraq after the opening of Saudi-Iraqi border in Arar, Saudi Arabia, November 18, 2020. (REUTERS/Maher Nazeh)

Iraq and Saudi Arabia opened the Arar border crossing for trade for the first time in three decades, the Iraqi border ports commission said on Wednesday.

Arar has been closed since 1990 after the two countries cut ties following Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait. Iraqi and Saudi officials including the Saudi ambassador to Iraq toured the site on Wednesday.

Riyadh has been wooing Baghdad as part of an effort to stem the growing regional influence of Iran, while Iraq is seeking economic benefits from closer ties with its southern neighbor.

The Saudi-Iraqi rapprochement extends back to 2015, when Saudi Arabia reopened its embassy in Baghdad following a 25-year break.

Saudi Arabia and Iraq signed investment agreements on energy in July.

“The Saudi-Iraq relations have been cut for about 27 years, and now we celebrate an accomplishment that suits the Saudi-Iraqi relations,” Saudi Ambassador Abdulah Alshamri said.

“We welcome all Iraqi products to be exported to Saudi and through this border, there will be an exchange of visits between the two countries,” he added.

Updated Wednesday, November 18, 2020 at 1:31 pm .