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    Egyptian, Jordanian and Iraqi leaders meet in Baghdad

    BAGHDAD (AP) — Iraq, Egypt and Jordan took a step toward deepening a regional alliance by holding tripartite talks in Baghdad on Sunday, in a first visit by an Egyptian head of state to the country in 30 years. Talks ranged from trade to Mideast crises.

    Abdel Fattah el-Sissi was greeted by Iraq’s President Barham Salih upon arriving on Sunday morning. It marked the first time an Egyptian president paid an official visit to Iraq since the 1990s when ties between both countries were severed after Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait.

    Jordan’s King Abdullah II arrived shortly afterwards, he and el-Sissi then met with Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi for a third round of tripartite talks.

    Al-Kadhimi also aims to shore up regional alliances and bolster Iraq’s standing in the Middle East as a mediator capable of bringing even the staunchest of foes to the negotiating table. Baghdad recently hosted talks between Iran and Saudi Arabia focussing on the war in Yemen.

    “This visit is an important message to our people that we are mutually supportive and unified to serve our people and the people of the region,” Al-Kadhimi said, according to a statement from his office.

    Iraqi Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein said in a press conference following the meeting that a wide range of topics had been discussed, including economic and political cooperation, large-scale industrial projects, and trade in medicine and agricultural pesticides.

    The talks also covered regional issues including the Syria crisis, the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, and the conflict in Yemen.

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