Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal arrives to greet the US Secretary of State on June 27, 2014 at King Abdulaziz International Airport in the Saudi city of Jeddah
Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal arrives to greet the US Secretary of State on June 27, 2014 at King Abdulaziz International Airport in the Saudi city of Jeddah © Brendan Smialowski - Pool/AFP
Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal arrives to greet the US Secretary of State on June 27, 2014 at King Abdulaziz International Airport in the Saudi city of Jeddah
AFP
Last updated: August 12, 2014

Saudi Arabia welcomes nomination of new Iraq PM as "good news"

Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal on Tuesday welcomed the nomination of Haidar al-Abadi as the new prime minister of Iraq to replace divisive incumbent Nuri al-Maliki as "good news".

Sunni Saudi Arabia had strained ties with Shiite Maliki, whom it accused of creating conditions for a jihadist-led offensive by marginalising Iraq's Sunni Arab minority.

"This is the good news I heard lately," the veteran diplomat said during a news conference in the western Saudi city of Jeddah, when asked to comment on Abadi's nomination.

King Abdullah sent messages of congratulations to Abadi and to Iraqi President Fuad Masum, official SPA news agency reported.

"I wish to congratulate you on your nomination to the post of prime minister and I pray to God for your success and for him to help you re-establish cohesion among Iraq's people and preserve the unity and stability of Iraq," the king said in his message to Abadi.

He said he wants to see Iraq, under the new prime minister, "regain its rightful place in the Arab world and the Muslim world".

In his message to Masum, King Abdullah congratulated him on his election to the presidency and for choosing Abadi to be prime minister.

Oil kingpin Saudi Arabia shares more than 800 kilometres (500 miles) of border with Iraq and has been alarmed by the jihadist offensive led by Sunni militants who have captured large swathes of its neighbour.

In June, Prince Saud warned of the risks of civil war in Iraq with unpredictable consequences for the region and blamed Maliki's "sectarian policies" for the increased violence there.

Maliki in turn accused Saudi Arabia of supporting "terrorism" in his Shiite majority country.

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