BAGHDAD, April 4 (Xinhua) -- Saudi Arabia on Thursday opened a consulate in Iraq's capital Baghdad for the first time in about 30 years in a sign of improving relations between Baghdad and Riyadh.
Saudi Minister of Commerce and Investment Majid Al Qasabi said during the opening ceremony "now our brothers in Iraq can acquire visas directly from Baghdad without the trouble of travelling to get them from outside Iraq."
A statement by spokesman of the Iraqi Foreign Minister, Ahmed al-Sahaf, said that "the building of the consulate of Saudi Arabia was opened in Baghdad with the attendance of Iraqi Foreign Minister Mohammed al-Hakim."
"The relations between Iraq and Saudi Arabia are strategic, as Iraq is moving in balance and strength to build its interests," al-Sahaf said.
On Wednesday, Qasabi, who headed a Saudi delegation of 115 members, including several ministers and dozens of businessmen, arrived in Baghdad on a two-day visit to hold the second session of the Iraqi-Saudi Coordination Council.
The Iraqi Minister of Oil Thamir al-Ghadhban confirmed a joint press conference with Qasabi that "the Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi will soon sign memorandums of understanding, which were prepared during the second session of the Iraqi-Saudi Coordination Council, in his upcoming visit to Riyadh."
He said that Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz has granted 1 billion U.S. dollars for the implementation of Saudi projects in Iraq.
Qasabi said that the two sides "agreed on forming a joint business council to exchange investment opportunities between the two countries, which will be signed during Abdul Mahdi's visit to Riyadh."
Another agreement was reached to establish a joint trade zone which its details will be discussed later, Qasabi said, adding that the discussion between the two sides yielded providing 186 investment opportunities for Saudi businessmen in Iraq.
On Wednesday, Qasabi and Ghadhan told reporters that three more Saudi consulates will be opened later in Iraq.