BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Arabic Persian Pashto Turkish French
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: Middle East  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
LANGUAGES
EDITIONS
Thursday, 31 October, 2002, 17:29 GMT
Iraq opens border with Saudi
Officials at border
Welcome: Saudi Arabia and Iraq move a step closer

Iraq has reopened its border crossing with Saudi Arabia for the first time since it was shut after the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990.

The move is the latest sign of improving relations between Saudi Arabia and Iraq since the Gulf War in 1991, when Saudi airbases were used for American bombing raids.

The two countries still do not have diplomatic relations, but they have been doing increasing amounts of trade and, with the threat of another American led war, Iraq is keen to improve its relations with Saudi Arabia.

One of the first to take advantage of the new rapprochement was a large delegation of Saudi trade officials and businessmen who crossed into the country to take part in Baghdad's annual international trade fair, which opens on Friday.

Critical time

Before the Gulf War the Ar'ra border crossing was a major trade route between the two countries, but for the past 12 years it has been opened only to allow Iraqi pilgrims to visit the Muslim holy sites in Saudi Arabia.

gulf war
Gulf War: Saudi bases were used against Iraq
Saudi goods imported by Iraq under the UN's oil for food programme have had to be transported via Jordan.

The reopening of the Ar'ra crossing will mean they can be trucked straight across the border.

But it is also important for Baghdad at a critical time for the country.

Iraq and Saudi Arabia began a process of reconciliation at a summit of Arab leaders in March.

If the US does attack Iraq, Baghdad is hoping hard that Saudi Arabia will not let its territory be used again to help the Americans.


Key stories

Analysis

CLICKABLE GUIDE

BBC WORLD SERVICE

AUDIO VIDEO

TALKING POINT
See also:

01 Nov 02 | Americas
28 Aug 02 | Business
28 Aug 02 | World at One
16 Sep 02 | Middle East
18 Sep 02 | Middle East
16 May 02 | Country profiles
17 Oct 02 | Country profiles
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Middle East stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Middle East stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes