ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – French President Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday extended his well-wishes to Iraqi Prime Minister-designate, Adil Abdul-Mahdi, and affirmed France would stand by Iraq’s side as the country attempts to recover from decades of government neglect and a four-year war against the Islamic State (IS).
Macron’s comment came in response to a Kurdistan 24 question asking the French President if he had any message to relay to Abdul-Mahdi on the sidelines of a European summit in Brussels, Belgium.
“My message to the Iraqi prime minister” in charge of forming the new government, is that “France will continue to stand by Iraq and the Iraqi people for the months and years to come in the areas of reconstruction, humanitarian aid, as well as politics,” Macron said. He made his statement in French noting that Abdul-Mahdi is fluent in French.
Abdul-Mahdi, a trained economist, left for France in 1969 where he spent years in exile working with the multiple think-tanks.
Macron, who is suffering from falling approval ratings after a scandal-filled summer, has been reshuffling his cabinet after key ministers resigned in the past few months. On the other hand, the designated PM’s office on Wednesday announced that they would submit a new cabinet to parliament for endorsement next week.
Recently, the Iraqi parliament elected the country’s new president, Barham Salih, who in turn called on the prime ministerial candidate, agreed upon by the country’s major Shia parties and coalitions, to form the future cabinet. Abdul-Mahdi has until early November to achieve a consensus.
The new government will face a number of challenges, notably, the reconstruction of damaged areas in the country, among them IS’ self-proclaimed capital of Mosul, and address issues in the Basra province, which saw widespread protests in the summer months amid plunging living standards.
Abdul-Mahdi would also have to balance ties with Tehran and Washington, the latter of which continues imposing new sets of sanctions on the former to limit the regime’s involvements in several bloody conflicts in middle-eastern countries.
Editing by Nadia Riva
(Additional reporting by Kurdistan 24 correspondent Barzani Hassan)