Iraq is holding a regional summit aimed at reducing tensions in the Middle East and emphasizing the country’s role as a mediator after decades of conflict.
The meeting on August 28 is expected to bring together leaders and representative from a number of countries, including the foreign ministers of regional rivals Iran and Saudi Arabia.
French President Emmanuel Macron, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, and Jordan’s King Abdullah II are among the leaders set to attend the summit in Baghdad.
Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian traveled to Iraq on August 27 to participate in the meeting, the ministry said.
Iran’s new hard-line President Ebrahim Raisi has also been invited to the Baghdad summit, but it is not clear if he will attend. Raisi said in June that there are "no obstacles" to renewing ties with Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Arabia has said it would be represented by its foreign minister, Prince Faisal bin Farhan.
Iraq seeks to play a "unifying role" to tackle crises shaking the region, sources close to Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhemi have said.
Macron and Kadhemi want to reduce regional tensions by fostering dialogue, including on security, a French presidential source was quoted as saying by Reuters. "The aim is to initiate something here and to continue [it] after this conference," the source said.
Iraq has been caught for years in a delicate balancing act between its two main allies, Iran and the United States.
Earlier this year, the country hosted several rounds of direct talks between archenemies Saudi Arabia and Iran, with midlevel officials discussing issues related to Yemen and Lebanon, according to Iraqi officials.
The United States has expressed “full support for the upcoming regional conference in Baghdad with an aim to develop diplomacy and dialogue across the Middle East region.”