Saudi Arabia has sent a delegation to Iraq to prepare to reopen an embassy in Baghdad and a consulate in Erbil, the capital of the Kurdish region of northern Iraq.

The kingdom’s embassy in Iraq has been closed since 1990, when Saddam Hussein invaded neighbouring Kuwait. It was never reopened due to poor relations with Hussein and Shia-led governments since the US invasion of Iraq in 2003.

The delegation, which arrived on 4 January, met with Iraqi politicians, including the speaker of the House of Representatives, Saleem al-Jubouri, on 9 January, according to the Saudi Press Agency.

The move signals improved relations between the two governments in order to coordinate efforts against the jihadist group Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, which controls large areas of Iraq.

During the visit, unidentified militants attacked a Saudi border patrol, killing two border guards and injuring a third.