(photo credit: JPOST STAFF)
BAGHDAD - Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir told Iraqi officials in Baghdad on Saturday that the kingdom plans to appoint a new ambassador, an Iraqi foreign ministry official said.
Iraq last year asked Saudi Arabia to replace its ambassador, Thamer al-Sabhan, after his comments about Iranian involvement in Iraqi affairs and alleged persecution of Sunni Muslims angered local Shi'ite Muslim politicians and militia leaders.Jubeir's visit to Baghdad is the first by a Saudi foreign minister since 1990.
On his visit, Jubeir met his Iraqi counterpart Ibrahim a-Jaafari and Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi.
Sabhan was the first ambassador appointed by Saudi Arabia after it reopened its embassy in Baghdad in 2015 following a 25-year break.
Saudi Arabia has long accused Iraq of being too close to Shi'ite Iran, its main regional rival, and of encouraging sectarian discrimination against Sunnis, a charge Baghdad denies.
Enmity between Sunni and Shi'ite regional powers has deepened in recent years as sectarian conflicts rage in Syria, Yemen and Iraq.