US President Joe Biden on Saturday welcomed Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi’s initiative to host talks between Saudi Arabia and Iran in Baghdad.
His statement came during a press conference in Saudi Arabia’s city of Jeddah following a meeting between the President and Al-Kadhimi.
Ongoing threats from Iran against the US and its allies have fueled tensions in the region in recent years.
Last year, Al-Kadhimi survived an assassination attempt with explosive drones – which some have blamed on Iranian-backed factions amid soaring tensions and a stand-off between Iraqi security forces and pro-Iran Shiite militias over election results.
During the press conference, Biden said he wanted to support Iraq’s democracy.
“I want the press and you to know we want to be [as] helpful as we can in doing that,” he said.
Al-Kadhimi spoke about the “strategic, friendly relationship” between the US and Iraq and thanked the US for providing support to combat terrorist groups.
An estimated 2,500 US troops remain in Iraq to support the country’s fight against Daesh, the AP report added.
Biden and Al-Kadhimi’s meeting came ahead of a summit with the leaders of the Gulf Cooperation Council, Egypt, Iraq and Jordan in Jeddah.
The US president and the Arab leaders are set to discuss regional security amid rising tensions with Iran, and strengthening cooperation and enhancing relations between the US and the region’s countries.
Biden also held a meeting with Egypt’s President Abdul Fattah El-Sisi in Jeddah – the first in-person meeting between the two leaders since Biden took office in 2021.
Biden thanked his Egyptian counterpart for Egypt’s role in a ceasefire to Israel’s war with Hamas last year in the Gaza Strip, an acknowledgement of Cairo’s role in the region.
“Looking forward to working with you on a whole range of issues,” Biden told El-Sisi.