[ltr]09.17.2021 - 12:51[/ltr]
Baghdad - people
On Friday, Saudi Arabia's ambassador to Iraq, Abdulaziz Al-Shammari, revealed Riyadh's vision regarding cooperation with Baghdad in various fields.
Ambassador Al-Shammari said, during an interview with the official agency, which was followed by “Nas” (September 17, 2021), that “the Kingdom has historical, social and kinship relations with Iraq, and given the social composition of Iraq, we find that the Arab clans in Iraq are Arab tribes that came from the island. Arabic and has a current social extension in the Kingdom.
He added, "The Kingdom supports an independent, stable and prosperous Iraq, and in this context, the Kingdom supports everything that enables Iraq to restore its regional and international standing, and as you can see, the official delegations from the Kingdom that visit Iraq on an ongoing basis within the framework of the Saudi-Iraqi Coordination Council and for the continuation of consultation and coordination between the leaders of And officials of the two countries and strive to activate the work and achieve the goals of the committees emanating from the Council for the benefit of Iraq and its dear people.
He continued, "The Kingdom's acceptance of the invitation and the participation of the Foreign Minister in the Baghdad Conference for Cooperation and Partnership comes as a continuation of this support, which aims to restore Iraq's regional and international standing."
Al-Shammari stressed that "the parliamentary elections in Iraq are an internal Iraqi affair," adding that "the kingdom does not interfere in this issue in any way."
With regard to areas of support and mutual support within the framework of multilateral diplomacy between the two countries, Al-Shammari said: "Coordination and consultation are ongoing and that the exchange of support is based at the highest level between the two countries."
Iraq and the Gulf Cooperation Council
Al-Shammari said, "During the forty-first session of the GCC summit meeting, which was held in the city of Al-Ula, the Council expressed its satisfaction with the steps taken to implement the memorandum of understanding and the joint action plan for strategic dialogue, and to develop relations between the GCC system and the Republic of Iraq in All political, security, economic, cultural and other fields.
The Saudi ambassador added: "The Council also affirmed its firm positions and decisions on Iraq, and the importance of preserving the integrity and unity of its territories, its full sovereignty, its Arab identity, its social fabric, its national unity, its support for confronting terrorist groups and armed groups, and the strengthening of state sovereignty and law enforcement."
Ambassador Al-Shammari pointed out that "the Baghdad Conference for Cooperation and Partnership achieved success that was reflected in the level of attendance at the summit and the great support that Iraq finds from the Kingdom and the Arab countries, and also reflected through the final statement, in which the participants expressed their support for the government and people of Iraq, and stressed the necessity of Unifying regional and international efforts in a way that reflects positively on the stability and security of the region, and the participants welcome the tireless Iraqi diplomatic efforts to reach a common ground with the regional and international surroundings in order to strengthen political, economic and security partnerships, adopt constructive dialogue and consolidate understandings on the basis of common interests.
He added, "Baghdad's embrace of this conference is a clear evidence of Iraq's adoption of a policy of balance and positive cooperation in its foreign relations."
With regard to security cooperation between Iraq and Saudi Arabia, Al-Shammari said: "The two countries are working closely and constantly cooperating in the file of combating terrorism," noting that "cooperation between military agencies is based on the exchange of joint exercises, training and information."
He stressed that "there is high-level coordination between the two sectors of the border guards in both the Kingdom and the Republic of Iraq, and the two parties meet regularly and exchange information."
He pointed out that "the Kingdom attaches great importance to the file of confronting terrorism and extremist ideology, and its most important achievements: contributing one billion dollars to the establishment of the United Nations Center for Combating Extremism. Whether in the media, culture or educational curricula, the Kingdom has indeed made great progress in combating extremist rhetoric.
He added, "The Kingdom has established the Global Center for Combating Extremist Ideology (Etidal), which is a global center whose mission is to combat extremism and uproot it, confront it and promote tolerance and coexistence among peoples. It was established on May 21, 2017, during the Arab Islamic American Summit in Riyadh, and its headquarters are in the Saudi capital. Riyadh, which is the first center concerned with the culture of intellectual moderation, through which extremist thought is monitored, interacted and analyzed, in cooperation with regional and international networks.
He referred to the "establishment of the Prince Muhammad bin Nayef Center for Counseling, which aims to rehabilitate those accused of adopting deviant thinking and correct misconceptions that led to ideological deviation or intellectual extremism."
Regarding the establishment of an Iraqi-Saudi joint fund whose capital is estimated at three billion dollars and the Saudi openness to investment in Iraq, Al-Shammari said: "The joint fund will enhance trade exchange between the two countries and will contribute to supporting investments in promising economic fields."
He added that "Iraq is a neighbor and friend country with which we are linked by ties of religion, ethnicity, neighborhood, history and common interests, and Iraq is a country rich in its wealth, on top of which is human wealth and the Iraqi person, and it enjoys natural and agricultural resources, all of which are attractive to global investments."
He stressed that "the Kingdom wants more investments in Iraq, and it has leading companies in the world, and these companies want to enter the Iraqi market, and through their entry, it will certainly work to transfer its global experiences to the Iraqi youth and the Iraqi market, and transfer knowledge in projects and others."
He continued, "We are working in the Kingdom with the brothers in Iraq and through the umbrella of the Saudi-Iraqi Coordination Council to increase the horizons of joint cooperation in all political, economic, cultural, media and other fields to broader and broader horizons in order to achieve the aspirations of the two brotherly countries and peoples."
He pointed out that "during the past four years, the Council's work has made great strides, and we are still at the beginning of the road, and in the future we will witness many positive developments that will benefit the brothers and sisters in dear Iraq."
He pointed out that "the private sector in our two brotherly countries is looking forward to more joint and ambitious investments, as many of them are now being prepared in many fields, most notably energy, electricity, oil and gas and other projects that are expected to reflect positively on the Iraqi economy and the Iraqi citizen by providing a large number of direct and indirect employment opportunities.
And he added, "The two countries also signed the establishment of grain silos in Al-Diwaniyah Governorate, the agreement for the construction of Al-Saqlawiya Hospital with a capacity of 50 beds, and the rehabilitation of the general hospital."
He continued: "During the current year 2021, a large delegation of businessmen in the Kingdom, about 50 businessmen, attended to study the investment opportunity in Iraq and meet with their counterparts from Iraqi businessmen, and discuss available investment opportunities, and also during the visit of Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kazemi, to the Kingdom. He met with Saudi businessmen.
And he added: "The commercial attaché in Baghdad was recently opened, and its work began, and a new port of Arar was opened after a long break, and also a license was granted to open an Iraqi bank (TPI) in the Kingdom, and this is an important step in the field of facilitating inter-investment, in addition to establishing a council Saudi-Iraqi business and its first meeting in Baghdad.
Al-Shammari stressed, "All these achievements are preparing the appropriate ground for starting investments between the two countries, according to the foundations and rules that allow investors to start the legal and correct steps."
On the Iraqi-Saudi Coordination Council, the ambassador explained that "the council is one of the most prominent coordinating councils in the region, as the leadership of the two countries attaches great importance to it because of its effective role in promoting bilateral relations to broader horizons in all cultural, educational, developmental, economic, logistical and other fields."
Reconstruction of Iraq
Ambassador Al-Shammari said, "At the conference on the reconstruction of Iraq hosted by Kuwait in 2018, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia announced the allocation of one billion dollars for reconstruction projects in Iraq, and 500 million dollars to support Saudi exports to Iraq."
He added, "The Saudi-Iraqi Business Council was formed and held its first meeting in Baghdad, and communication is continuing between the business sectors in the two countries to discuss ways of cooperation."
He pointed out that "an agreement was recently signed for cooperation in the field of development planning for economic diversification and private sector development, and it is awaiting ratification by both sides."
He continued: "A memorandum of understanding for cooperation in the industrial and mineral wealth sectors was also recently signed, as well as a framework memorandum of understanding between the Saudi Fund for Development and the Iraqi Ministry of Finance on the project to establish grain silos and the Saqlawiya Hospital project, as well as an agreement to protect and encourage investment, an agreement to finance Saudi exports, and a cooperation agreement." Between the Saudi Contractors Authority and the Iraqi Contractors Federation for the Reconstruction of Iraq.
Cooperation in the field of energy,
the Saudi ambassador, stressed that "the Kingdom is working with Iraq within the framework of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and the OPEC + group to support the stability of global oil markets, and thus support the economies of the two countries, producing and consuming countries, and the Ministry of Energy in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is working with the Ministry of Oil in the Republic of Iraq, on evaluating a range of investment opportunities in the oil and gas field.
He added that "the projects to develop natural gas fields come at the forefront of areas of cooperation, as the two teams are currently working on studying the feasibility of developing one of the Iraqi gas fields through an international partnership."
He added, "Although the study is still in its initial stages, the technical teams from both sides are working diligently to crystallize this ambition, in a way that achieves economic benefit for both sides and supports the Kingdom's permanent efforts to achieve stability in the brotherly Republic of Iraq at all levels."
He stressed that "the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is keen to enhance cooperation in the field of electricity, with the brotherly Iraqi side, and comes at the forefront of this cooperation in the direct electrical interconnection project between the two brotherly countries, where specialists from the Saudi side, with their counterparts on the Iraqi side, work continuously, to accomplish This ambitious project, in order to contribute in the future to strengthening the national electrical network in brotherly Iraq, and alleviating the suffering of the brothers in Iraq, by increasing the electrical energy capacities available to the Iraqi network, and providing opportunities for commercial exchange of electrical energy.
And he added: "In addition to the importance of this project as a starting point for the regional and international electrical linkage for the two sides, a detailed study of the feasibility of electrical linkage between the two countries, which was carried out by a specialized international expert house, with the participation of specialists from both sides, and with full funding from the Saudi side, has been completed."
He explained that "the results of the study showed the feasibility of linking, and recommended the best options in terms of technical, economic and environmental terms," noting that "the two sides are now working on completing the internal regulatory procedures in the two countries, so that the project implementation procedures can begin in accordance with the study's recommendations."
In the field of renewable energy, the Saudi ambassador stressed that "the Kingdom supports the sisterly Republic of Iraq to achieve its goals in developing the renewable energy sector, by sharing its expertise and successful experiences in developing renewable energy projects, in addition to urging Saudi companies to participate - because of their expertise in this field." field in renewable energy projects in Iraq.
Regarding the railway connection between Iraq and Saudi Arabia, Al-Shammari explained, "The strategic location of the Kingdom and the Republic of Iraq, which provides easier lines for regional and global land trade, encourages both countries to study these economic visions," expressing his hope that "everything that is good for the two brotherly countries and peoples will be achieved." ".
Regarding the investment project in the Iraqi desert areas and the reasons for the delay in work on it, the Saudi ambassador said that "the project as an idea is still in place, and a site has already been selected and it was later found that this site does not have sufficient groundwater to meet the need for agricultural investment the size of Salik International."
He continued, "We hope that the Iraqi agricultural market will benefit from entering this company, which will raise food security in Iraq, transfer technology, and develop the Iraqi agricultural and animal sector in general."
On the work of the Kingdom's gift to build a stadium in Baghdad and the delay in its initiation and completion until this moment, Al-Shammari stressed that "the project is still in place, and there is great keenness on the part of officials in both countries to proceed with this project."
He explained that "so far, a suitable plot of land has not been selected to start a large project of this size, which needs special technical specifications and the area of a large plot of land that can be expanded in the future."
He stressed that "work is being done closely with the Iraqi side to complete the requirements of the project."
Cultural cooperation between Iraq and Saudi Arabia,
Ambassador Al-Shammari, said during the interview: "We will soon see broader cultural cooperation between the two countries, and granting Iraq a guest of honor at the Riyadh International Book Fair is a first step in a broader cultural cooperation to come."
He added that "the two countries signed several agreements in this field, the most important of which is a memorandum of cooperation between the House of King Abdul Aziz and the House of National Books and Documents, and a memorandum of understanding for cooperation between the Iraqi Media Network and the Radio and Television Corporation in the Kingdom."
Saudi support for Iraq in the health field.
In this regard, the Saudi ambassador said: "The Kingdom has donated to the rehabilitation of Ibn Al-Khatib Hospital, which was exposed to an unfortunate fire accident, and it was also announced that the Kingdom will take care of receiving critical cases resulting from this accident."
He added: "The Ministry of Health in the Kingdom, earlier, donated a set of medical aid, and it was delivered to the Iraqi side through the King Salman Relief Center. The Kingdom also donated, earlier, to re-equip the Children's Cancer Hospital in Basra."
He continued, "Also, earlier, the two countries signed an agreement to build Al-Saqlawiya Hospital with a capacity of 50 beds and rehabilitate the general hospital."
He concluded by saying: "The Kingdom is also open to all that the brothers in Iraq ask for, from transferring its long experience in the health and research fields."
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