Minister supports "stabilizing role" for Iraq in Middle East on visit to the country
France/Iraq – Joint communiqué issued by the French and Iraqi foreign ministries
Paris, 16 July 2020
M. Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, went to Iraq on 16 and 17 July. He had a meeting in Baghdad with the President, Mr Barham Saleh, and Prime Minister, Mr Mustafa al-Kadhimi. He also had in-depth discussions with his counterpart, Mr Fuad Hussein, Minister of Foreign Affairs.
The visit provided an opportunity to strengthen ties between the French Republic and the Iraqi Republic and pursue a fruitful, substantive dialogue on bilateral, regional and international issues of common interest, in a spirit of friendship and trust.
During the visit, France expressed to Iraq its wholehearted solidarity given the health crisis the country is currently going through and assured it of its support at this difficult time. France is providing nearly €2 million to the Iraqi authorities to help them tackle COVID-19. The Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs announced the imminent delivery of medical equipment.
On the security front, France and Iraq expressed their determination to protect what has been achieved in the fight against Daesh. The two countries highlighted their concern about the threat of a resurgence of the organization. France paid tribute to the sacrifices Iraq has made in the fight against Daesh and welcomed the initial results of Operation “Heroes of Iraq” conducted by the Iraqi security forces. The two countries applauded the strength of their security cooperation and expressed the wish to deepen it.
As partners within the Global Coalition Against Daesh, the two parties expressed the wish for it to continue its mission in Iraq, in full respect for Iraq’s sovereignty and within a framework which takes account of the increasing power of the Iraqi security forces.
At regional level, France indicated its support for the Iraqi authorities’ wish to play a stabilizing role in the Middle East and emphasized the importance of Iraq being able to contribute fully to regional stability. For its part, Iraq reiterated its desire to establish peaceful relations with all the States in the region, and the two countries called for Iraq to be a land of cooperation rather than of confrontation.
In terms of economic development, France signalled its determination to continue its financial support for Iraq with regard to stabilizing the areas liberated from Daesh. France has already committed €20 million to Iraq in 2020, in particular to build a hospital in Sinjar. France is supporting the Iraqi Government’s reconstruction efforts and its desire to carry through reforms addressing the Iraqi people’s aspirations. The two countries signalled their hope that the projects identified, particularly in the transport, energy, water and e-governance sectors, can materialize swiftly. These projects, which are crucial for the country and important for the bilateral economic relationship, will be able to benefit from the €1-billion finance facility France has made available to Iraq.
At cultural, academic and scientific level, the two countries welcomed the dynamism of the bilateral relationship. In addition to the signature of a programme of university grants, major formative projects have come into being in the north, particularly in Mosul. In that city, the university is making the transition to digital technology, the Franco-Iraqi cultural centre is rapidly expanding and projects in the health field are being prepared. Since 2019, cooperation between France and Iraq has been spreading towards the south of the country, with several ambitious projects. The Institut français in Baghdad, a place of debate and support for Iraqi creativity, is addressing young Iraqis’ expectations. The Institut is working to extend its activities to the whole of Iraq by developing digital cultural and educational programmes.
The two countries affirmed their desire to strengthen their cooperation in every field in order to build a genuine strategic partnership, in full respect for Iraqi sovereignty, and make the relationship a force for harmony and stability in the Middle East./.