President of the Republic, Barham Salih, addressed on Wednesday the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
In his speech, the President referred to regional developments, the challenges facing Iraq, and their repercussions for peace and security in the region.
President Salih noted that while protesters in Iraq, most of whom are young Iraqis, are demonstrating to demand change and an inclusive homeland, the escalation of regional tensions pose a threat to the country’s sovereignty.
However, the President of the Republic stressed that Iraq is able meet these challenges and build a better, stronger, more coherent and a prosperous country.
The President of the Republic added that following the defeat of Daesh in Iraq, the country stood on the threshold of a new era of collective action to build a vibrant economy and a more cohesive society.
The President underscored that this vision still exists, but that regional tensions, especially during the past month “reminded us that our aspirations remain subject to political disputes beyond our control and unwanted foreign interference.”
Putting the national interest first
President Salih outlined the principles that define Iraq’s foreign policy and stressed that Iraq wants good relations with all nations, but it refuses to be part of conflicts or disputes between countries.
He added that no country should seek to dictate to Iraq with whom it should have relations or the nature of these relations.
Our diplomatic and economic policies and relations must be driven by our national interests, not by the interests of others, and even by the interests of our allies. The sovereignty and stability of Iraq must be the common interest of our neighbours and our international partners.
The President of the Republic pointed to the positive role that Iraq could play in the Middle East, which since the time of Mesopotamia, is a cradle of civilisation and a melting pot of different faiths and ethnicities.
On the demonstrations in Iraq, the President of the Republic said that there was a need to re-establish the confidence of Iraqis in their government and to review laws and the constitution in order to renew and strengthen ties between Iraqi leaders and the Iraqi people.
President Salih spoke of the need to create conditions for sustainable economic growth and to create job opportunities for young people, especially since 65% of Iraq’s 38 million people are under the age of 30.
President Barham Salih urged Iraqi and international private sectors to participate in supporting economic growth in Iraq.
To support the effective participation of the private sector in building a prosperous Iraqi economy, President Saleh referred to the reforms introduced by the Iraqi government of the legal and regulatory frameworks to enhance protection of investors, liberalise markets, and combat corruption.
The President stressed the importance of establishing good governance and the rule of law through practical and tangible measures so that promises in this area do not remain empty slogans.