Iraqi officials from across the political spectrum welcomed the recent visit to Baghdad of Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa.
Moussa arrived in Baghdad Saturday (January 8th) leading a large delegation from the Arab League. The delegation met with a number of Iraqi officials, including Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, President Jalal Talabani and speaker of the parliament Osama al-Nujaifi.
During the meetings, Moussa confirmed that the Arab League supports Iraq hosting the 23rd Arab League Summit in Baghdad in March.
"We are all looking forward to the next Arab summit after which Iraq will lead the joint Arab action for the next year," Moussa said, speaking before the Iraqi parliament on Saturday.
Moussa said the summit "confirms a lot of things, including the return of Iraq, a confirmation that it is an active Arab country, a confirmation that we all understand its conditions and composition, and that everyone is taking part in its revival".
Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlaq said Moussa and the Arab League delegation's visit to Iraq "comes as part of the return of Arab and Islamic countries' openness to Iraq and their confirmation that they would help it in the upcoming stage".
Iraqi lawmaker Waleed al-Mohammedi said the talks between the Arab League delegation and Iraqi officials focused on two points: Iraq's preparations for hosting the Arab summit and support for the political process in Iraq.
"The delegation told the Iraqi government that there was a strong desire among Arabs to strengthen their diplomatic and economic relations with Iraq after the formation of the national unity government," al-Mohammedi told mawtani.com. "We discussed the full resumption of Iraq's relations with all Arab countries and the communication of a clear picture about the developments that took place in Iraq over the past two years on all levels."
Iraqi lawmaker and National Alliance member Hasan al-Sinaid said Moussa's visit stressed the Arab League's desire to hold the summit in Baghdad at its scheduled date.
"Efforts made by the Iraqi government in the framework of preparing for the conference have recently been the focus of attention and praise by officials in the Arab organisation, who confirmed that there was no intention to postpone the summit, change its place or move it to another country," al-Sinaid said.
Iraqi officials expect Arab delegations to start arriving in Baghdad in the coming days to discuss logistics for the upcoming summit.
"We will be ready before the date of the conference in a manner worthy of Iraq and Arab countries," said Ali al-Musawi, media adviser to the prime minister.
Al-Musawi said that the appropriate committees are nearly finished with arranging accommodations and conference halls and securing all other requirements for the success of the conference.
Al-Musawi also said the security situation in Iraq is more suitable than ever for the summit.
"Through the plans and measures established in this regard, we will endeavour to ensure a secure and stable atmosphere for it," he said. "The competency and ability of Iraqi forces to control security, and the major achievements that they have made, have sent messages of reassurance and encouragement to all Arab leaders."
An Egyptian delegation headed by Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit visited Baghdad at the end of December to meet with a number of Iraqi officials and reiterate Egypt's support for Iraq's return to normalcy.
"Egypt decided to actively take part in the Baghdad summit," Aboul Gheit said during a joint press conference with his Iraqi counterpart Hoshyar Zebari. "Egypt will not spare an effort to demonstrate its full support for ensuring the stability and progress of Iraq and its return to its Arab sphere."
Iraqi lawmaker and Kurdish Alliance member Khalid Shawani said holding the Arab League Summit in Baghdad indicates that Iraq is recovering from conflict and restoring its standing in the Arab and international community.
"The progress taking place on the political level, which is represented in the formation of the Iraqi government, and the positive developments in maintaining security, combating terrorism and establishing the rule of law, as well as the good service preparations, are all factors that will enable us to achieve that success," he said.