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RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s crown prince hosted Iraq’s Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhemi in Riyadh on Wednesday, as the premier arrived on a long-awaited visit that officials say aims to forge closer trade ties.

The trip comes after Iraq and Saudi Arabia reopened their land border, the Arar crossing, in November for the first time in 30 years, in a new effort to revive once-frosty ties.

“The purpose of this trip is to discuss and expand ongoing cooperation and the work of the Iraqi-Saudi committee”, which oversaw the re-opening of Arar, an Iraqi official told AFP.

Kadhemi’s visit seeks to “further enhance economic cooperation and investment” as well as “explore ways to strengthen regional stability”, the official added. The kingdom’s de facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman received Kadhemi at Riyadh airport.

“Today, we embark on a visit to the kingdom of Saudi Arabia to strengthen our bilateral ties and enhance regional cooperation,” Kadhemi wrote on Twitter before his arrival.

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