Iraq will host senior officials from neighboring countries including regional arch-rivals Saudi Arabia and Iran on Saturday, as it carves out a role as a mediator in the deeply divided region.
The one-day summit will bring together parliament heads from Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria, and Kuwait, a parliamentary spokesman told AFP.
The conference will be hosted by Iraq’s youngest-ever speaker of parliament Mohammed al-Halbusi, 38, who said Friday Iraq was “honored by the presence of its neighbors in Baghdad.”
Hours earlier, he had welcomed Syria’s parliament chief Hammudeh Sabbagh, who landed in the Iraqi capital on Thursday night with a large delegation.
Iraqi premier Adel Abdel Mahdi recently returned from visits to both Riyadh and Tehran, who are at odds across the region and whose officials rarely attend the same events.
Turkey and Iran have also backed opposing sides in Syria’s war, which since 2011 has isolated Damascus diplomatically.
As part of its new regional role, Baghdad has sought to bring Syria back into the Arab League.