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Saudi Arabia and Iraq to re-open border crossing after 27 years

Saudi Arabia and Iraq to re-open border crossing after 27 years

This move is the latest indication of developing alliances between the gulf and Iraq.

Sadr also discussed ways of improving understanding between the Sunni and Shi'ite branches of Islam, at a meeting on Monday with a prominent Sunni cleric in Abu Dhabi.

Sadr, who commands a large following among Iraq's urban poor and is critical of Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi's government, has denounced Iran's influence in his country. And one of those countries was Saudi Arabia.

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Over the last few months, Iraq's Shiite political groups have intensified their fight for influence in Baghdad in preparation for the parliamentary elections next year.

Abu Dhabi- Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, hosted Moqtada Al Sadr, leader of the Sadrist Movement in Iraq, at Al Shati Palace on Sunday evening.

Sadr's office confirmed the visits to the Gulf on his website, and said the Saudi trip resulted in an agreement to study possible investments in predominantly Shiite regions of southern and central Iraq, sending humanitarian aid to internally displaced Iraqis and boosting ties among youths.

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The Saudis will consider the possibility of opening a consulate in Iraq's holy Shi'ite city of Najaf, it said. Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir visited Baghdad in February to name another ambassador while the two neighbors announced in June that they would set up a coordination council to upgrade ties.

Also present were Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, UAE minister of foreign affairs and global cooperation, Ali Mohamed Hammad al-Shamsi, deputy secretary-general of the Supreme National Security Council, and Mohammed al-Mazrouei, undersecretary of the crown prince court of Abu Dhabi, the National said.

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