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11 January 2019 09:16 am

Qatari-Iraqi relations towards comprehensive strategic partnership

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In view of the close brotherly relations between the State of Qatar and the Republic of Iraq, the official visit, which HE President of the Republic of Iraq Barham Salih began to Qatar, underscores the keenness and determination of the leaderships of the two countries to advance and enhance bilateral relations in all fields, by looking to the future with confidence and determination to serve the interests and aspirations of the two countries and their brotherly peoples.

HH the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani will meet, at the Amiri Diwan on Thursday, with Dr Barham Salih for talks on bilateral relations and means of enhancing them and a number of issues of common concern.

The Qatari-Iraqi relations are witnessing a new start, and the first step was on 22 May 2017 when HH the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani sent a written message to the then Prime Minister of the Republic of Iraq Dr. Haider Al-Abadi, inviting him to visit the State of Qatar.

The message was handed by HE Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani during a meeting with the Iraqi Prime Minister in Baghdad. During that meeting, the two sides discussed bilateral relations and means of enhancing them in various fields. In a statement, the two sides stressed, on the basis of the ties of brotherhood and historical brotherly relations between the two brotherly countries, to remove all that would disturb the relations between them and look forward to the future, not to think of the past and open a new page in the relations between the two brotherly countries.

The visit of HE Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani to Iraq last November marked the beginning of another new ear in the development of relations between the two countries, as it was the first visit of a Qatari official to Iraq after the formation of its new government. It was also a sign and indication that the two countries desire to develop the prospects of cooperation between them, by activating the memorandum of understanding signed between them, convening the Iraqi-Qatari committee meetings regularly, and contributing to the reconstruction of Iraq.

During that visit, HE Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani met with the three presidencies in Iraq and other senior Iraqi officials, and discussed with them bilateral relations and means of supporting and developing them, in addition to issues of common concern.

His Excellency was accompanied during that visit with a high ranking delegation who met with their counterparts in Iraq. The Iraqi Ministry of Trade said that Iraq and Qatar agreed to activate economic and trade relations between them, restore channels of communication in all fields and begin holding meetings of the Iraqi-Qatari committee in Doha. In recent statements, Iraqi Foreign Minister Mohammed Al Hakim affirmed the existence of cooperation between his country and the State of Qatar, which includes reconstruction and investment, in addition to a project to transport goods from Turkey to Qatar through Iraqi territory.

Last April, a shipping line between Qatar and Iraq was launched during a visit by HE Minister of Transport and Communications Jassim bin Saif Al Sulaiti to Iraq. The new shipping line will transport goods from Jordan, Kuwait, Turkey and Iran through Iraqi territory to Qatar, which will be a new step in supporting relations between the two countries.

In February, HE Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani announced the State of Qatar would provide a package of loans and investments in infrastructure projects and reconstruction to the Republic of Iraq worth one billion USD, based on its keenness to help the brotherly Iraqi people.

HE stressed the keenness of the State of Qatar to support Iraq and all efforts aimed at ensuring its unity and sovereignty, enhancing its security and stability, and building a democratic Iraq with the concerted efforts of all political parties and all components of Iraqi society.

HE Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani said that the State of Qatar has provided and still providing all levels of humanitarian support to Iraq through humanitarian and developmental projects in education and health.

In order to widen the economic horizons between the two countries and achieve the interests of the two countries and their brotherly peoples in all fields, the sixth session of the Joint Qatari-Iraqi committee for economic, trade and technical cooperation was held in Doha last December. The Qatari side was headed by HE Minister of Commerce and Industry Ali bin Ahmed Al Kuwari, and the Iraqi side by HE Minister of Trade Dr Mohammed Hashim Abdul Majeed Al Ani. The two sides discussed the progress made in the recommendations of the fifth session of the committee, the current projects and expansion plans, as well as ways to overcome the obstacles faced by some projects.

The joint committee also discussed a number of issues related to enhancing economic, trade and investment cooperation between the two countries in various fields, including industry, agriculture, transportation, health, education, science, technology and culture.

The two sides agreed to take the necessary steps to advance the approach of enhancing trade and investment cooperation between the two countries in order to increase the volume of this exchange and facilitate the flow of goods, services and investments between the two countries.

At the conclusion of the session, a number of agreements and memorandums of understanding were signed for the development of cooperation and bilateral relations. An agreement to establish a business council was also signed, as well as a memorandum of understanding between the Qatar Chamber and the Federation of Iraqi Chambers of Commerce. The agreement aims at enhancing friendship and understanding between the two countries' businessmen and developing cooperation in the field of trade exchange, investment, technology transfer, services and supporting industrial sectors in both countries.

In a sign of the keenness of officials in Doha and Baghdad to take care of the developed relations in all fields, a number of senior Iraqi officials have visited Qatar in the past few months, and these visits contributed to enhancing the bilateral relations between the two countries. During these visits a memorandum of understanding was signed for security cooperation, and it is expected that Qatar Navigation (Milaha) will soon open offices in the port of Umm Qasr in Iraq to facilitate navigation between the two countries.

At the civil aviation level, there are Qatar Airways flights to the cities of Baghdad, Najaf, Basra, Erbil and Sulaymaniyah in Iraq. In addition, steps have been taken towards cooperation and support for the advancement of the civil aviation sector in the Republic of Iraq through Qatar Civil Aviation Authority, which will reflect positively on the reality of air transport in Iraq and the region and will enhance cooperation and exchange of experience in civil aviation between Qatar and Iraq.

Source: QNA News