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Iraq needs foreign help to overcome loss of oil income, premier says

Rome (dpa) – The Iraqi economy, reeling from the collapse of world oil prices, needs international help to adjust to the shock, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said Wednesday.

Oil – which provides more than 90 per cent of Iraq‘s government revenue – is currently worth little more than 30 dollars per barrel, down from about 110 dollars in mid-2014.

“We are experiencing a very difficult situation,” al-Abadi said in a Rome press conference after meeting Italian counterpart Matteo Renzi winning Italian support for his appeal.

“We need to review the structure of the economy because it depends a lot on oil and now that oil prices have fallen, we need the help of the international community […] to help us restructure our economy so that it may be more diversified,” he said.

Renzi said he agreed with al-Abadi that international economic fora like the G7 and the G20 should “pay attention to countries like Iraq” and said Rome was ready to offer “all the help possible to support the economic recovery of this wonderful country.”

The two leaders also discussed the fight against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, to which Italy is contributing by training Iraqi security forces, and repair works on the Mosul dam, recently assigned to Italy‘s Trevi group.

“We need to accelerate” the start of the works on the critical infrastructure, al-Abadi said. Repairs should start once some 450 Italian troops are deployed to secure the site, according to plans announced in December.

Before Renzi, the Iraqi premier met Pope Francis, who has repeatedly expressed concern about the plight of Christians in the Middle East. In Iraq, their numbers have declined sharply since the US-led invasion in 2003.

A Vatican statement said al-Abadi and the pontiff discussed the “situation of Christians and ethnic and religious minorities living in Iraq, with particular reference to the importance of their presence and the need to protect their rights.”

On his website, the Iraqi premier said he told the pope that “the Christian brothers in Iraq are the focus of our pride and our love and we are keen to take care of them and protect them and to secure their freedom to practice their religious rituals.”
Source: Europe Online Magazine, 10.02.2016

Comments (1)

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    The collapse of the Iraqi economy is not caused by the collapse of oil prices , but by mishandling the economy in the last decade by different governments. No final audited accounts were done for the last 9 years to show how was the economy going. No real economic policy was available. And last but not least, no economic policy was there.

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