October 20, 2020.
Iraq and France signed a series of agreements in Paris to boost Iraq’s transport, agriculture and education sectors, according to the office of Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi.
A senior Iraqi delegation led by Kadhimi began a European tour on Sunday, meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron and Prime Minister Jean Castex at the Elysee Palace in Paris. Germany and the UK are also on Kadhimi’s agenda.
“Iraq and France sign in Paris three Memorandums of Intent regarding the Baghdad suspension railway project, on strengthening the institutional capacities of the Iraqi Ministry of Agriculture, and on expanding the admission of Iraqi students to French universities,” read a tweet from the Iraqi government.
During his meeting with Macron, Kadhimi expressed his intention to “strengthen the existing friendly relations between both countries,” appreciating “efforts made by France to launch an initiative to support the Iraqi government, according to a statement from Kadhimi’s office.
Macron has previously spoken about developing projects with Baghdad.
“We want to implement projects which are important, especially Baghdad’s railway and the energy project which we talked about with Mr Prime Minister [Kadhimi],” he said during a one-day visit to Baghdad on September 2.
During his trip to France, Kadhimi also met with the heads of French companies “to create a strong economic partnership,” according to a statement from Kadhimi’s office.
Kadhimi’s visit to Europe comes as Iraq is gripped by an economic crisis, exacerbated by a drop in oil prices and the global coronavirus pandemic, and attacks on diplomatic missions by Iran-backed militia groups that have been met with international condemnation.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel is scheduled to receive Kadhimi in Berlin on Tuesday, where the two will discuss “bilateral relations”, “economic cooperation,” and efforts to contain the coronavirus pandemic, as well as the “joint fight against IS [Islamic State],” according to a statement released Friday by the German cabinet.