Egypt FM set for Iraq visit after formation of new government

Egyptian Minister of Foreign Affairs Ahmed Abul Gheit on Tuesday said he plans to visit Baghdad soon to convene with Iraqi officials.

The Iraqi parliament on Tuesday approved the formation of a new government after nine months of political limbo following elections in March.

Abul Gheit’s last trip in October 2008 marked the first visit by an Egyptian foreign minister to Iraq since 1990.

Abul Gheit said he aims to encourage more bilateral work between Egypt and Iraq in different political and economic fields.

Iraq needs support from Arabs to counter non-Arab influence, Abul Gheit added.

Analysts say Iran interferes in Iraqi internal affairs through supporting Shia factions in the majority Shia nation, traditionally ruled by Sunni regimes. Analysts cite incumbent Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's ascendance to a second term in office as evidence of Iranian influence.

Iraq’s neighboring Arab countries as well as the United States fear growing Iranian power in Iraq, particularly with US forces set to withdraw from the embattled nation by the end of 2011.

Abul Gheit commended the long-sought government formation, saying Iraqi confidence in its members of parliament will push the government forward.

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