ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi on Monday stated his country’s willingness to develop ties with Qatar as he met with a senior economic delegation from the Gulf state, which suggested a free trade deal with Baghdad.
The meeting was held just days after a similar visit to Iraq by a Saudi Arabian delegation, comprised of various business interests and spearheaded by the kingdom’s commerce minister. In mid-2017, Saudi Arabia, along with three other Arab states, severed ties with Qatar for its continued dealings with Iran and allegedly supporting terrorism.
“Iraq is a friend of all,” said Abdul-Mahdi during his meeting with the Qatari delegation, led by Minister of Commerce and Industry Ali bin Ahmed al-Kuwari, according to a statement issued by the prime minister’s office. “We will not go back to the policies of destructive wars and [polarization].”
“We have a strong will to open up and cooperate with the State of Qatar in all areas,” including economy, trade, and investments. The prime minister stated Iraq seeks to “strengthen” bilateral ties “to serve our two countries and peoples.”
Kuwari said Qatar and Iraq have “great opportunities” in working together and affirmed his country’s determination to increase cooperation with Iraq, expand economic, trade, construction, and investment ties facilitated through the “exchange of visits between businessmen and investors.”
The Qatari minister added – as reported by Abdul-Mahdi’s office – that Doha would like to “sign a free trade agreement with Iraq to exchange, encourage, and protect investments between the two countries.”
On Thursday, delegations from Saudi Arabia and Iraq studied ways to boost bilateral trade ties and agreed to reopen a border crossing between the two countries to facilitate the movement of goods.
Editing by Nadia Riva