Iraqi Airways to start direct flights to Abu Dhabi: news agency

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DUBAI (Reuters) - Iraqi Airways plans to start direct flights to the United Arab Emirates' capital Abu Dhabi on May 1, the state-run Iraqi News Agency reported on Sunday, citing a company statement.

The annoucement came ahead of a visit on Sunday to Abu Dhabi by Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi as part of efforts to forge close ties with oil-rich Gulf Arab monarchies.

Khadimi's visit to the UAE follows one to Saudi Arabia last week, during which Riyadh said it would increase investments in Iraq by five-fold to $2.67 billion.

(Reporting by Maher Chmaytelli; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne)