Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi welcomed Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi and His Majesty King Abdullah II Ibn Al Hussein of Jordan to Baghdad for a summit of regional leaders in June 2021.
The leaders discussed a strategy for economic cooperation that Prime Minister al-Kadhimi calls New Levant. He wants to knit more closely the economies of Cairo, Baghdad and Amman.
“The project invests in Egypt’s tremendous manpower, Iraq’s oil wealth, and Jordan’s geographical position, linking Iraq with Egypt,” Iraqi strategist Hussein Al-Jasser said. “Project New Levant could be the nucleus for a broader bloc, which may soon draw other Arab countries, with the aim of tipping the balance in favor of moderate countries in the region amidst escalation in violence and extremism sponsored by a regional state.”
After welcoming his two fellow leaders from Egypt and Jordan, al-Kadhimi outlined the region’s security challenges and offered up potential economic solutions.
“We focused on investment and economic cooperation in our past meetings and agreed on a common vision, and now we are in the phase of executing projects pertinent to electrical interconnection, agriculture, transportation, as well as food security,” al-Kadhimi said.
King Abdullah welcomed the talks and praised Iraqi hospitality.
“Our duty today is to bolster the bridges of cooperation between the three countries, and we are fully prepared to stand with the Iraqi government and the Iraqi people in facing challenges,” the king said.
During what was the first visit to Iraq by an Egyptian president in 30 years, President el-Sisi commended Iraq’s efforts to achieve security and stability and combat terrorism and extremism. He announced support for joint projects to cement relations between the two countries and to enhance Iraqi-Egyptian-Jordanian tripartite cooperation.
The Baghdad summit was the fourth in a series. The first was held in Cairo in March 2019 and culminated in the formation of a joint council. The second occurred in the United States in September 2019 and the third in Amman in August 2020.
Sources: Al Ahram, Sky News