2018-02-02 21:31:00

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi on Friday stressed his government’s keenness to “consolidate” relations with neighboring countries.

Al-Abadi made the assertion at a meeting of Iraqi ambassadors in capital Baghdad.

"We want to establish normal relations with all of our neighbors in the upcoming period,” he told meeting participants.

Iraqi political leaders have repeatedly said that maintaining solid relations with neighboring states serves the country’s interest -- especially after the Daesh terrorist group’s expulsion from Iraq last year.

“Iraqi diplomacy is playing an important role in strengthening relations and minimizing differences -- policies that ultimately contribute to the national interest,” he said.

The prime minister did not, however, specify the neighboring states with whom Iraq was seeking improved ties.

Some observers believe Baghdad wants closer relations with Turkey and Saudi Arabia in hopes of bolstering Iraq’s battered economy and rebuilding the city of Mosul following Daesh’s three-year occupation.