On Saturday Saudi Foreign Minister al-Jubeir was in Bagdad for talks with his Iraqi counterpart Al-Jaafari. This was the first visit of this kind in years, as a government official said it was the first visit of a Saudi Foreign Minister since 2003 and for that reason its importance is so deep and marks a key step in efforts to mend frosty bilateral relations. This visit is a product of the Iraqi Foreign Minister’s efforts to improved stained ties with other countries such as Saudi Arabia, which restablished diplomatic relations with Iraq in 2016 when Al-Sabhan became the first saudi ambassador to Iraq in a quarter century after relations were cut-off after Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait.
Kurdistan’s army forces (Peshmerga) are not partaking in the Iraqi forces’ battle against Islamic State in western Mosul. JabbarYawar, secretary-general of the Peshmerga Ministry, told Bas News that the force maintains deployment at regions it had recaptured earlier from Islamic State militants. He added that no agreement had been made with the government in Baghdad regarding participation in western Mosul battles which, he said, are solely led by Iraqi forces contrariwise the operations in eastern Mosul which launched in October and ended with the retaking of the region late January.