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Saudi Arabia reopens Baghdad embassy after 25-year hiatus

Reopening fully restores diplomatic relations a quarter of a century after they were broken over Iraq's invasion of Kuwait
Iraqi president Fuad Masum and Saudi Arabia's King Salman on 10 November, 2015 (AFP)
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Saudi Arabia has reopened its embassy in Baghdad, a quarter of a century after relations were broken over Iraq's invasion of Kuwait, a foreign ministry official said.

"The staff of the Saudi embassy arrived today in Baghdad," the official told the AFP news agency on Tuesday.

"They were met at the airport by foreign ministry officials. The staff consists of 35 people, led by the ambassador's deputy."

The ambassador himself is due to arrive by Thursday and will attend an official opening ceremony. 

A consulate is expected to open later in Erbil, the capital of Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region.

Diplomatic relations between Saudi Arabia and Iraq were severed in 1990 but restored in 2004 after the US-led invasion toppled Saddam Hussein.

Relations remain strained between the Gulf kingdom, a Sunni powerhouse, and Shia-dominated Iraq, where Iran and armed groups loyal to it wield huge influence.

Iraqi officials have repeatedly accused Riyadh of abetting the Islamic State group, which took over large areas of the country last year.