ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Prime Minister-Designate Adil Abdul-Mahdi highlighted Iraq's post-Islamic State (IS) reconstruction and continued relations with Turkey in a meeting on Thursday in Baghdad with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu.
Abdul-Mahdi's words were conveyed in a statement issued by his press office summarizing his talk with Cavusoglu, who arrived in the capital earlier in the day to meet with him, President Barham Salih, and other top Iraqi officials.
The visit comes at a time when the prime minister is busy attempting to form a new government, to be submitted to parliament by the constitutional deadline of Nov. 3.
If successful, the cabinet Abdul-Mahdi is in the process of forming will face a number of challenges that have dogged its predecessors, not least of which is balancing the national economy and the need to invest heavily to rebuild its crumbling infrastructure, made worse by rampant institutional corruption.
"Iraq has entered a new phase after its victory over terrorism," read the statement, adding that the current stage is reconstruction, which will require "the support of the international community."
In recent years, Turkish construction companies have run or taken part in a large percentage of the new private and municipal building projects that have sprung up across Iraq and the Kurdistan Region.
In the statement, the two officials discussed ways to "strengthen relations between the two countries in various fields and work to resolve outstanding issues, especially in the field of water and others."
The topic of water rights is a continuing bone of contention between Baghdad and Ankara due to the dramatic effect Turkish upstream dams and agricultural practices have on Iraq's water supply.
"There are excellent relations with our Turkish neighbor, and we will work to strengthen them for the benefit of the two neighboring peoples," Abdul-Mahdi said.
For his part, Cavusoglu stressed "Turkey's support for Iraq in all areas," adding that "work is continuing to strengthen relations between Ankara and Baghdad ... to resolve outstanding issues."
Other pressing issues between the two nations include the presence of a Turkish military camp over the border in Nineveh Province's town of Bashiqa and Ankara's ongoing military conflict with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party, a group based in the Qandil Mountains of the Kurdistan Region.
Editing by John J. Catherine