Saudi Arabia is considering investing in 2.5 million acres of agricultural land in Iraq’s western province of Anbar, which has suffered both economically and otherwise after the bitter war to regain control of the province from the Islamic State. If such an investment is made, it would be facilitated by the Saudi-Iraqi Coordination Council, which was formed in October.
The Iraqi Ministry of Commerce announced the potential investment in a brief statement to the press April 4 but did not disclose any further details on the matter.
Iraqi-Saudi relations have remarkably improved since mid-2017, particularly after Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi visited Riyadh in October. During that visit, an announcement was made on establishing the Saudi-Iraqi Coordination Council, in the presence of Abadi, Saudi King Salman bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud and then US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
The council aims to develop economic relations at all levels between Iraq and Saudi Arabia after nearly three decades of estrangement. It also seeks to open land borders, encourage investments, review the customs cooperation agreement and study the establishment of a trade zone.
The Ministry of Commerce’s media office declined to provide Al-Monitor with any details on the potential Saudi investment in Anbar.
However, Yahya al-Mohammadi, a member of the Anbar provincial council, told Al-Monitor that officials in Anbar were indeed in contact with the Saudi Embassy in Baghdad, adding, “Provincial officials have noticed a Saudi desire to broadly invest in Anbar.”
Meanwhile, Salman al-Ansari, chairman of the Washington-based Saudi American Public Relation Affairs Committee, told Al-Monitor that the investment project in Anbar “will be launched soon.
Iraq Business News