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Iraq moves forward with building pilgrim route to Saudi Arabia

The Iraqi government is showing interest in completing the pilgrim route linking Iraq and Saudi Arabia, which will facilitate the arrival of religious visitor convoys between the two countries and will enhance trade and political relations.
Iraqi women ready to board a coach, part of a convoy, heading south of the Iraqi city of Karbala some 120 kilometers (74 miles) from the capital Baghdad, toward the Saudi Arabian city of Mecca, Nov. 22, 2008.

During his visit to Najaf governorate Jan. 6, Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi issued directions for the completion of the land pilgrim route linking Iraq from Najaf to the holy lands in Saudi Arabia. Work had started in 2013 for the establishment of this route but was halted due to the financial crisis and the coronavirus pandemic.

The project coincides with the official opening of Iraq’s Arar border crossing with Saudi Arabia amid government efforts to boost relations between Baghdad and Riyadh, which witnessed successive crises, as diplomatic relations resumed in 2015 following 25 years of rupture due to the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990.

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