Mideast, Europe leaders meet in Jordan on security in Iraq

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Leaders from the Middle East and Europe gathered in Jordan Tuesday in a conference focused on bolstering security and stability in Iraq.

The meeting included high-level officials from Saudi Arabia, France, Iraq, Turkiye, Egypt, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman, the European Union, and Iran. The countries’ stated goal was to show “support for Iraq, its sovereignty, security, and stability, as well as its political process, its economic and development progress, and its efforts to rebuild.”

Iraq’s stability and security have been shaken for decades by internal and external conflicts. The 2003 US-led invasion led to years of intense violence and sectarian strife, including the creation of Daesh and the empowerment of Iran-backed political factions and militias.

More recently, the country has been paralyzed by political gridlock, with the main dividing line running between Iran’s allies and opponents.

Tuesday’s gathering was held as a follow-up to the Baghdad Conference for Cooperation and Partnership convened in Iraq last year with France co-organizing. Paris has taken an increasingly active role in the region in recent years, with President Emmanuel Macron also attempting to intervene to resolve the political crisis in Lebanon.

Speaking at Tuesday’s conference, Macron said France is attached to the stability of the region, which he said is struggling with “deadlocks, divisions, foreign meddling and security issues” in the interests of promoting peace and security in the broader Mediterranean basin.—AP