United Arab Emirati and Iraqi Meeting Bears Ambassadorial Fruit

Iraq's prime minister welcomed the crown prince of Abu Dhabi to Baghdad on Tuesday, the latest high-level visit by regional Arab dignitaries.

Sheik Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who also is the deputy commander of the United Arab Emirates' armed forces, said his visit was aimed at boosting bilateral ties.

"Our good relations will inevitably bear fruit," he told reporters after meeting Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. His delegation included the federation's defense and interior ministers.

The visit was the latest move by Iraq's mostly Sunni Arab neighbors to restore ties damaged by Saddam Hussein's rule and the U.S.-led invasion.

The Sunni-ruled United Arab Emirates this summer became the first Gulf country since Saddam's fall to announce it was sending an ambassador to Iraq.

Al-Maliki said Tuesday that the UAE was looking for a place to build a new embassy. "We both have the desire to boost bilateral ties," he said.

On Sunday, the first Egyptian foreign minister to visit Iraq in 18 years was also in Baghdad in an effort to improve ties and boost economic cooperation in oil and construction.

These developments follow strong U.S. pressure for Arab countries to play a bigger political role in Iraq to counter Iranian influence and promote reconciliation between Iraq's rival Sunni and Shiite communities.