Iraq’s Minister of Finance, Ali Allawi, on Saturday concluded a visit to Saudi Arabia, during which he delivered a message from Prime Minister, Mustafa Al-Kadhimi to King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud.
During his visit, Mr. Allawi also held meetings with the Minister of Energy, Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman Al Saud, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al-Saud, the Minister of Finance, Mohammed Al-Jadaan, the Minister of Commerce and Investment, Majid Al Qasabi, and other senior Saudi officials.
In a television interview before leaving Baghdad, Mr. Allawi said that his discussions with Saudi officials will focus on encouraging Saudi companies and institutions, especially in the fields of energy and agriculture, to enter the Iraqi market, invest in Iraq and play a part in the reconstruction of the country.
He underscored that the new Iraqi government is pressing ahead with plans to balance Iraq’s economic relations with neighbouring countries, saying that the Iraqi market is open to all.
Iraq’s Finance Minister acknowledged during the interview that there were several factors that discourage investors from coming to Iraq, and highlighted the legal and administrative frameworks, the banking system and land acquisition rules as some of the key impediments that the new government is determined to address in order to create a welcoming, modern and efficient investment climate in Iraq.
Mr. Allawi’s visit to Saudi Arabia is the first in a series of planned official visits to countries in the region to strengthen economic cooperation and bolster trade.