Saudi Arabia's King Salman has invited Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi to visit the kingdom, Abadi's office said today, in the biggest sign yet of improving ties between the countries after decades of tension.
Abadi's office gave no details about the invitation or possible visit, which would be his first as prime minister, including when it might take place. But the invitation caps months of better cooperation between Riyadh and Baghdad since the prime minister replaced Nouri al-Maliki last summer.
Iraq and Saudi Arabia have found new room to cooperate with each other in the fight against the Islamic State group, which both see as a threat, but long-held suspicions persist.
Saudi Arabia hopes Abadi will do more to include Iraqi Sunnis in the government than Maliki did, and will prove more able to distance himself from Iran, Baghdad's main ally and Riyadh's biggest regional foe.
Since a US-led coalition invaded Iraq in 2003, Saudi Arabia has regarded Baghdad's leaders as little more than puppets for Tehran, something relayed in numerous US embassy cables released by WikiLeaks.