A summit organized by Iraq brought regional rivals Saudi Arabia and Iran together on Saturday, as part of a broader effort by Iraqi leaders to shape the country's image as a friend among its neighbors.
Scratched by more than three decades of war, Iraq is acting as a mediator among neighbors who frequently deal with difficult issues such as the civil war in Syria and US sanctions against Iran.
The summit meeting, chaired by Parliament Speaker Mohamed al-Halbousi, brought together the country's top legislators The six neighbors of Iraq: Syria, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Turkey, Jordan and Kuwait.
"Today, Iraq is building a promising strategic partnership with all its neighbors, without any reservations or a party," Halbousi said.
The regional meeting follows months of high-profile diplomacy, with Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi and President Barham Salih working with the neighbors.
"The stability of Iraq is necessary for the stability of the region and, with all its political and economic weight and creative human resources, contributes to its Arab and regional environment," said a final statement.
She emphasized "the importance of promoting moderation and combating extremism in all its spheres, especially as people in the region pay the price of extremism."
Abdul Mahdi visited Iran and Saudi Arabia earlier this year. Arabia in rapid succession, stressing that Iraq would not favor one or the other in Iran rivalry between them.
Instead, Iraq wants to expand its trade with both, as it seems to be seeking a civil war 1
Iraq is also leading a regional initiative to bring Syria back to the Arab League, with President Bashar al-Assad surviving a 2011 uprising against his rule.
While Iraq is a close ally of the US in the Middle East, Iraqi leaders have made it clear that they are not constrained by US policy goals to isolate Iran and Syria.
"Iraq is returning to the neighborhood," President Salih told The Associated Press last month.