King Salman promises to build stadium in Iraq

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman has, in a phone conversation with Iraqi Premier, promised to build a stadium in Iraq, following a friendly between the two countries last week, confirming détente in the countries’ relations.

The promise came on the heels of an international friendly on February 28, in Basra sports stadium. Host Iraq crushed the visiting Saudi team by 4 goals to one.

The phone conversation with Haider al-Abadi Monday is the highest diplomatic contact between the two countries since a visit by the Iraqi Premier to Riyadh late last year.

According to Reuters, the two leaders discussed how to strengthen bilateral cooperation, and galvanize the Iraqi-Saudi Joint Coordination Council, a body created last October to improve strategic relations and help rebuild the devastated areas retaken from Islamist militants in Iraq.

Relations between Riyadh and Bagdad are warming up following several decades of diplomatic blackout that followed Kuwait’s invasion by former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein in 1990.

Riyadh is striving to bring Bagdad on its side in its attempts to curb Iran’s influence. Tehran is well-established in Iraq where it backed the defeat of the Islamic state group.

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