PARIS (Reuters) – French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian held “thorough and confident” talks with Iraq’s President Barham Salih late on Thursday, wrote Le Drian on his Twitter page.
“Following on from the Baghdad conference of August 28 and the ministerial meeting in New York on September 21, I reaffirmed the support of France for Iraq and for regional dialogue,” added Le Drian on Friday, without giving further details. Iraq has become the playground of rivalries between Iran on one side and the United States, Israel and Gulf Arab states on the other, with attacks against U.S. forces and assassinations of Iranian and Iraqi paramilitary leaders.
Iranian and Gulf Arab officials had met in Baghdad on August 28 on the sidelines of a regional summit that Iraq hoped would encourage its neighbours to talk to each other instead of settling scores on its territory. Those meetings came months after regional foes Iran and Saudi Arabia resumed direct talks in Iraq which have achieved no breakthrough but have helped offset escalating tension in the Middle East.