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Amir, Iraqi PM discuss trade

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KUWAIT CITY, Aug 22: In light of the accelerating international and regional developments, and in anticipation of the “Baghdad Summit of the Leaders of Iraq and Neighboring Countries” scheduled for next month, the Prime Minister of Iraq Mustafa Al-Kadhemi arrived in Kuwait on an official visit, which is his first visit since taking office in April 2020. The Iraqi Prime Minister was received by His Highness the Amir of Kuwait Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad, in the presence of His Highness the Crown Prince Sheikh Mishaal Al-Ahmad. Two sessions of talks were also held with His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled, and the National Assembly Speaker Marzouq Al-Ghanim.

According to a statement issued by the Iraqi Foreign Ministry, despite the main theme of the one-day visit being “increasing the volume of trade between the two countries and attracting investments”, the focus was mainly on several political issues during the meeting. His Highness the Amir welcomed the Iraqi Prime Minister and his accompanying delegation, and expressed his wish to strengthen the cooperation between the two countries. He affirmed that, “Kuwait will continue to support Iraq and its government in facing various challenges and obstacles”. The Iraqi Prime Minister said, “Kuwait is a neighbor and friend, and is present in the heart and soul of every Iraqi by virtue of its historical positions and its generosity towards Iraq and all Arab countries.”

He indicated that, “Discussions with the political leadership of Kuwait are necessary to draw a regional road map that clearly defines the changes in the region.” In this regard, the Iraqi News Agency quoted Al-Kadhemi as saying, “Kuwait has a wise vision in foreign policies based on a long legacy of good experiences and initiatives that have been crowned with success. With Kuwait in particular, the agenda has been open pages from heart to heart.

A stable, secure, and economically comfortable Kuwait is an Iraqi interest. Similarly, a stable, secure, and economically comfortable Iraq is a Kuwaiti interest.” He affirmed his country’s respect for international resolutions and the need for their implementation, as well as the commitment to relations based on common interests between the two states. Al-Kadhemi said, “The challenges facing the region make us more confident about the need to cooperate and increase the level of coordination between our two countries. The Iraqi government is working towards transforming Iraq into a meeting point for dialogue and exchange of views between the various parties. Baghdad will be hosting the leaders of the neighboring and regional countries in the Baghdad conference at the end of this month.” He expressed the desire of Iraq for the participation of Kuwait at the highest levels. During his meeting with the editors-in-chief of Kuwaiti newspapers, Al-Kadhemi said he had stressed, during his discussions with the Kuwaiti side, the importance of respecting international resolutions and working on overcoming difficulties and removing fears, adding, “We agreed on economic matters.” He announced the formation of the Supreme Political Committee to negotiate the outstanding issues, insisting that his government is serious and determined to discuss all of them.

The Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al Kadhemi with the Editor-in-Chief of the Arab Times and Al-Seyassah Ahmed Al-Jarallah during their meeting at the Bayan Palace.

Al-Kadhemi went on to say, “There are no differences between Kuwait and Iraq. I came to establish a relationship that depends on partnership. We must learn from the past. Our interest with Kuwait is great.” He admitted to the presence of an Iraqi bureaucracy that delayed development of relations between the two countries. The Iraqi Prime Minister indicated that, “Kuwait may be small geographically, but it is rich in its democratic and media experience”, adding, “We will not tolerate any offense against Kuwait.” Regarding the file of Kuwaiti investments in Iraq, Al-Kadhemi affirmed his country’s keenness to overcome all difficulties in this matter by enacting legislation, and fighting corruption and administrative bureaucracy in order to attract Kuwaiti investors. He addressed businessmen by saying, “Our doors are open through encouraging investment laws. The government does not allow them to be blackmailed.” Al-Kadhemi pledged to address all obstacles facing the foreign investor and provide them with reassurances, hinting that, “The volume of trade exchange between Kuwait and Iraq is still mild.” Regarding the internal situation in Iraq, Al-Kadhemi said the legislative elections in his country will be held on October 10, and will not be subject to postponement. He went on to say, “What is more important to us is to navigate the country to safety and to recover. We are in dire need of a recovering Iraq that needs its Arab and Islamic surroundings.” Al-Kadhemi expressed his optimism for the future, despite the setbacks and corruption. He concluded by saying, “Iraq has gone through several difficult stages. It does not need an iron-fist rule, but instead it needs a father and a shepherd who cares about its affairs.”

By Ahmed Al-Jarallah Editor-in-Chief, the Arab Times

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