Saudis pick first envoy to Baghdad in 20 years

Moving to repair a long-fractured diplomatic relationship, Saudi Arabia has named its first ambassador to Iraq in more than two decades, Iraq’s foreign minister announced Tuesday. The Saudis did not, however, say they were reopening an embassy in Baghdad. Hoshyar Zebari, Iraq’s foreign minister, said in a Twitter posting that the Saudi ambassador to Jordan […]

Jack Healy reports for the New York Times:

Moving to repair a long-fractured diplomatic relationship, Saudi Arabia has named its first ambassador to Iraq in more than two decades, Iraq’s foreign minister announced Tuesday.

The Saudis did not, however, say they were reopening an embassy in Baghdad. Hoshyar Zebari, Iraq’s foreign minister, said in a Twitter posting that the Saudi ambassador to Jordan would serve as the new “nonresident” Iraqi envoy. He is Fahd al-Zaid.

Still, the Saudi move restores normal diplomatic relations between the oil-rich neighbors for the first time since Saddam Hussein’s 1990 invasion of Kuwait. It may also signal Saudi Arabia’s desire for a stronger presence in Iraq to buttress against the influence of Iran, a longtime nemesis of the Saudi kingdom.