Iraq’s Al Abadi visits Saudi Arabia at time of Gulf turmoil –

Riyadh: Iraq’s Prime Minister Haider Al Abadi started a visit to Saudi Arabia on Monday, in the latest effort by the two countries to heal years of strained relations.

State-run Saudi Press Agency said Al Abadi received an official welcome after his plane touched down in the Red Sea city of Jeddah.

Saudi Arabia has been trying to cement its ties throughout the region at a time of rising tensions with its rival, Shiite-dominated Iran.

But Al Abadi, from Iraq’s largest Shiite political bloc, arrives with the Gulf region in turmoil after Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and other allies cut ties with Qatar two weeks ago.

They accuse Doha of supporting extremist groups, including some backed by Iran, “that aim to destabilise the region”.

Sunni-ruled Saudi Arabia cut ties with Iran early last year.

Riyadh has long expressed concern about Iran’s “interference” in the region,…

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