Seeking opportunities to ease tensions in the Middle East

Monday, 2021-08-30 09:59:02
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President of Egypt Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi speaks during the Baghdad Conference for Cooperation and Partnership on August 28. (Photo: Egypt Today)
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NDO – Despite not yet making breakthroughs in solving persistent problems, the recent Baghdad Conference for Cooperation and Partnership has created an opportunity to promote dialogue, partnership building, and cooperation to ease tensions in the Middle East – which is considered a “conflict hot spot”.

Bringing together many of the leaders of key Middle East countries, the conference has shown Iraq’s active role in coordinating the regional cooperation efforts.

With its outstanding result being the consensus of the participating countries to unify efforts to stabilise the region, the meeting of the Middle East leaders hosted by Iraq on August 28 was considered by the parties as an “important historic event” of the region. The joint statement of the conference underscored Iraq’s diplomatic efforts to reach a common regional and international stance on strengthening economic and security partnerships, through constructive dialogue and strengthening understanding on the basis of common interests.

The Baghdad conference was held in the context of the region facing numerous challenges, with a series of tense developments and unresolved problems in relations between countries. The self-proclaimed Islamic State (IS) has been declared “defeated” in Iraq and Syria, but the risk of its resurgence has not been entirely eliminated. The “IS resurgence” scenario has become even more obvious following the latest bomb attack in Afghanistan’s capital, Kabul, as foreign forces are rushing to finalise their plans to leave the country.

The conference set the aim of supporting Iraq’s role in the fight against terrorism, especially the IS, as well as to promote dialogue between countries for stability of the whole region. Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi said that convening the conference represents a vision of “good partnerships” in the region, especially in economic cooperation and counterterrorism.

The joint statement of the meeting clearly stated that the region is facing common challenges which require nations’ joint efforts to deal with on the basis of cooperation, respect and mutual benefit. The event affirmed the rejection of terrorism and extremism in all forms, while emphasising the importance of cooperation, particularly in COVID-19 response, through information sharing and exchange of successful experiences.

With the participation of leaders and representatives of nine countries, including those with persistent problems and regional organisations, the Baghdad conference gathered “important factors”, reflecting a common interest in dialogue and cooperation. According to a release of the Iraqi Presidential Office, the goal of this historic event is to contribute to easing tensions and crises whilst promoting the orientation of constructive dialogue in the region.