JEDDAH – Iraq’s influential Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr made a rare visit to Saudi Arabia on Sunday, where he met the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and other officials, Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported.
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Iraq lies on the faultline between Shia Muslim power Iran and Sunni-ruled countries that are its regional arch-rivals, chief among them Saudi Arabia.
Iraq and Saudi Arabia announced last month they were setting up a coordination council to upgrade strategic ties as part of an attempt to heal troubled relations between the Arab neighbours.
Saudi Arabia reopened its embassy in Baghdad in 2015 following a 25-year break, and in February, Saudi foreign minister Adel al-Jubeir made a rare visit to Baghdad.
Sadr, an anti-American Shia leader, commands a large following among the urban poor of Baghdad and the southern cities, including Saraya al-Salam, or Peace Brigades militia.
He met the powerful Saudi Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman, in the Red Sea port city of Jeddah and discussed issues of common interest, SPA reported.