Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi opened the summit, saying the event embodies Iraq's vision for establishing better relations with the countries of the world, and our pledge to our people that Iraq will reclaim its leading role in the region.

Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi speaks during the Baghdad summit in Baghdad, Iraq, on August 28, 2021.
Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi speaks during the Baghdad summit in Baghdad, Iraq, on August 28, 2021. (Reuters)

A regional summit aimed at promoting cooperation and partnership in the Middle East region opened in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, on Saturday.

The summit, held in the heavily guarded Green Zone, seeks to discuss political, economic and security issues related to Iraq and the region, according to Anadolu Agency correspondent.

"The conference is held at a critical and historic situation,” Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi said in his opening speech at the summit.

The summit “embodies Iraq's vision for establishing better relations with the countries of the world, and our pledge to our people that Iraq will reclaim its leading role in the region,” he added.

The Iraqi premier voiced hope that “the conference will achieve economic integration among all countries", stressing that "Iraq has taken steps to facilitate investments."

Baghdad seeks to strengthen its economic relations with neighbouring countries and open its doors to investments and to establish mega construction projects in areas damaged in the course of the war against Daesh/ISIS.

READ MORE: Iraq hosts Mideast meeting aimed at softening regional tensions

France to keep troops in Iraq

Speaking on the occasion, French President Emmanuel Macron said France would keep troops in Iraq as part of anti-terrorism operations for as long as the Iraqi government needed them to stay, regardless of whether or not the United States decides to withdraw.

"Whatever the Americans decide, we will maintain our presence to fight against terrorism in Iraq," he said. 

The conference is attended among others by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, Jordanian King Abdullah II, Qatar's Emir Tamim bin Hamad, Kuwaiti Prime Minister Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah and Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu.

READ MORE: Iraq hopes to ease Saudi-Iran feud at Baghdad summit

Source: TRTWorld and agencies