The tripartite summit marked the first official visit to Iraq by an Egyptian leader since the first Gulf War.
Egyptian President Abdul Fattah Al-Sisi, Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Kadimi and Jordan’s King Abdullah II met in Baghdad. This was since the invasion of Saddam Hussein in 1990 During the first visit to Iraq by the head of state of Egypt since Kuwait.
The first Gulf War broke down the diplomatic relations between Iraq and Egypt, but in recent years the situation has improved with the exchange of visits by senior officials of the two countries.
The summit was held within the framework of the tripartite cooperation mechanism of the three countries. The tripartite cooperation mechanism held its first round of summit in Cairo in March 2019.
The Egyptian President stated that on Sunday, the three leaders discussed several areas of regional interest, including the latest developments in the Palestinian issue, combating terrorism and economic cooperation.
It added: “The leaders emphasized the need to strengthen consultation and coordination among the three countries on the most important regional issues.”
These meetings were seen in part as an attempt to offset Iran’s influence in the region. Al-Kadhimi also aims to consolidate regional alliances and strengthen Iraq’s position as a mediator in the Middle East.
It recently hosted Iranian and Saudi officials in Baghdad in April, which was their first high-level meeting since Riyadh broke off diplomatic relations with Tehran in 2016.
In a statement issued by his office, Kadimi said: “This visit has conveyed an important message to our people that we support each other and unite as one to serve our people and the people of the region.”
Al Jazeera’s Mahmoud Abdul Wahd reported in Baghdad that the summit is not only economic but also political.
“Part of the intention of Egypt and Jordan is obviously to bring Iraq back to the Arab League… and use Iraq’s wealth to establish or create some mutual trade and investment and development projects,” he said.
Widely discussed issues
Iraqi Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein said at a press conference after the meeting that the two sides discussed a wide range of topics, including economic and political cooperation, large-scale industrial projects, medicine and pesticide trade.
The talks also involved regional issues such as the Syrian crisis, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and the Yemen war, and were welcomed by the United States.
“Iraq must be isolated from regional intervention,” Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi told reporters after the meeting, apparently referring to Iran’s influence in the country.
He added that Ethiopia’s rehabilitation dam project was also discussed. Egypt is worried that the project will jeopardize its water supply. All three countries agree that a political solution and refugee return are needed to end the Syrian crisis.
“The message from leaders is that we stand together in the face of these challenges,” he said.
Iraq has signed important economic and trade agreements with Jordan and Egypt.
In November, Egypt signed 15 memorandums of understanding covering everything from oil to construction and trade. Jordan imports 10,000 barrels of oil from Iraq every day, but it stops due to coronavirus restrictions.
Iraq also plans to build a pipeline designed to export 1 million barrels of Iraqi crude oil from the southern city of Basra to the port of Aqaba on the Red Sea in Jordan every day.