French FM in Baghdad to confirm support for Iraq's reconstruction

Source:Xinhua Published: 2018/2/13 8:43:06

France's Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian on Monday said that his country will continue to support Iraq after the defeat of Islamic State (IS) and is looking forward to participate in rebuilding Iraq.

Le Drian on Monday arrived in Baghdad and held a meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi in Baghdad's Green Zone.

The two sides discussed enhancing bilateral cooperation in various fields and means to support Iraq in reconstruction and stability, in addition to discussing the situation in the region, according to a statement issued by Abadi's office after the meeting.

"Le Drian reiterated his country's support to Iraq in the reconstruction phase, noting that the stability of Iraq will be an opportunity and a model of insistence on liberation and construction in the (Middle East) region," the statement said.

Earlier in the day, Le Drian arrived in Baghdad on an official visit to meet Iraqi top officials to discuss bilateral relations, including France's participation in the conference of Iraq's reconstruction held in Kuwait, as well as supporting Iraq in its war against terrorism.

Le Drian also met with Iraqi President Fuad Masoum, who hailed France's support to Iraq during the war against the extremist Islamic State (IS) militants and praised its efforts in the post-IS reconstruction of Iraq.

A statement by Masoum office said that the Iraqi president highlighted "the importance of France's military and humanitarian support to Iraq in its war against the (IS) organization, as well as its efforts to mobilize the support of the international community to Iraq."

Le Drian also met with the Speaker of the Iraqi parliament Salim al-Jubouri, and the two sides reviewed the latest developments of the security and political situation in the region and the world, in addition to discussing the return of the displaced people to their homes, according to a statement by Jubouri's office.

"Iraq is heading for openness on both regional and international levels, in accordance with a new (political) vision to prepare for the stage of reconstruction," Jubouri told Le Drian and his delegation.

Jubouri also called for paying greater attention to the return of the displaced people through the reconstruction of their devastated cities by the battles against terrorism, the statement said.

Earlier in the day, the chief of the French diplomacy said during his meeting with his Iraqi counterpart Ibrahim al-Jaafari that France will continue to support Iraq after the defeat of IS group and is looking forward to participate in rebuilding Iraq, according to a statement by the Iraqi Foreign Ministry.

"I have come to Baghdad to emphasize our continued support to the Iraqi people in various fields and look forward to contributing to the reconstruction of the infrastructure of the Iraqi cities," the statement quoted Le Drian as saying after his meeting with Jaafari.

Le Drian also said that his country is committed to rebuild the University of Mosul, which was badly damaged by the fierce battles against the extremist IS militants, and expressed France's readiness to open new horizons to strengthen bilateral relations, the statement said.

The chief of the French diplomacy revealed that the French President Emmanuel Macron will visit Baghdad during the coming period, it said.

For his part, Jaafari said that Iraq "will not forget the friendly countries that stood by his side and supported him in humanitarian, military and service fields, and we are looking forward to their contribution to the reconstruction of the infrastructure of Iraqi cities," according to the statement.

As for the conference of Iraq's reconstruction held in Kuwait, Jaafari confirmed "we count on the active presence of the international community at the donor conference in Kuwait, and the continuation (of the world) to stand by the Iraqi people," the statement added.

"The partnership between Iraq and France is very important and we must make more efforts to activate common interests and face common risks," Jaafari concluded.

In the evening, Le Drian flew to Erbil, the capital of the semi-autonomous region of Kurdistan to meet with the Kurdish leaders, and was received by the regional Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani, according to the Kurdish NRT satellite channel.

Le Drian's visit came as Kuwait's international conference for reconstruction of Iraq was kicked off earlier in the day and is scheduled to end on Feb. 14.

In Kuwait's conference donor countries and organizations are expected to announce financial contributions at the meeting amid great aspirations by the Iraqis who are eager for a positive outcome that will help rebuild their war-torn country.

Posted in: CROSS-BORDERS

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