BAGHDAD, Feb. 22 (UPI) -- A decision by the government in Saudi Arabia to appoint a non-resident envoy to Baghdad is testament to developing bilateral relations, an Iraqi lawmaker said.
Riyadh this week said it appointed Fahd Bin Abdul Mohsen al-Zaid, its ambassador in Jordan, as non-resident ambassador to Iraq. It marks the first time the Saudis installed an envoy since Saddam Hussein declared war on Kuwait in 1990.
Arkan Zebari, a member of the Foreign Relations Commission in the Iraqi Parliament, told the Voices of Iraq news agency the Saudi initiative marked a "positive step to develop bilateral relation."
Baghdad next month plays host to the annual summit of the Arab League.
"(The Saudi) initiative is welcomed by Iraq but we hope that other countries, including the (Persian) Gulf countries, will open their embassies before the summit," Zebari said.
Previous plans for an Arab summit in Baghdad were scrapped because of stormy ties between Iraq and its Sunni neighbors in the region.
Iraqiya, a Sunni-backed slate led by former interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi, welcomed the Saudi initiative. Iraq's foreign minister said he expected the envoy to present his credentials in the coming days.