Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi affirmed that diplomacy is the only path to end the cycle of conflict in the region, warning that the alternative “is the madness of war and devastation which this country has suffered from for decades.”
The Prime Minister told staff at the headquarter of the Foreign Ministry in Baghdad that the “world is facing multiple crises, including our region which has been suffering for a long time from a series of crises and conflict.”
The Prime Minister added that “in the context of Iraq where we face complex crises of political, economic and social dimensions, we must undertake multilateral and sophisticated diplomacy in order to arrive at solutions.”
The Prime Minister reiterated his call for a wide-ranging national dialogue and underscored that Iraqis must “reach a consensus on a national discourse to enable us to engage in a broader dialogue at the regional level so that we can fully and equitably secure the interests of the people of the region.
The Prime Minister outlined the successes of Iraqi diplomacy during the lifetime of this government, including the Strategic Dialogue with the United States which transformed the relationship into one with economic and educational dimensions and succeeded in reducing the number of combat US forces in Iraq by 60%.
The Prime Minister drew attention to the role Iraqi diplomacy played in helping Iraq through an economic crisis, as exemplified by the Iraq Economic Contact Group which was established at Iraq’s invitation, bringing together a number of countries and global institutions which stood by Iraq during its economic crisis and which continue to support Iraq and the Iraqi government reform programme.
The Prime Minister said that Iraq pursued a policy of openness towards all regional and international powers, which created a positive impression about Iraq, its political stability, and the great historic opportunities before it.
It is in this context that the visit of His Holiness the Pope to Iraq took place, said the Prime Minister.
The visit, he said, provided a great moral support to Iraq, and sent a message to all that Iraq is a suitable environment for investment, a destination for tourism, and that the Iraqi people are a peace-loving people who are proud of their religious, social and political diversity.
The Prime Minister also highlighted Iraq’s good relations with its neighbours saying that Iraq “has several memorandums of understanding and agreements that we worked on during this period with all our Arab, Iranian and Turkish neighbours, despite the differences that exist between these countries.”
He emphasised that Iraq must stay away from these conflicts, and be a bridge for communication and cooperation instead of it being used as an arena for conflict and confrontation.
The Prime Minister then referred to the work being undertaken to create a ‘New Mashreq’ to harness the broad common interests between Iraq, Jordan and Egypt in order to create a prosperous economic zone that will benefit all countries in the region and in which Iraq would play a major role.
The Prime Minister told his audience that Iraq also has multifaceted relations with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and with all other Gulf countries, and that the Iraqi government is proceeding with several investment projects with these countries in various sectors including agriculture, industry and energy.
He also pointed out that Iraq concluded a rail link agreement with Iran, which will connect Iraq with northern China and create new economic opportunities.
The Prime Minister added that Iraq must continue with this approach, face internal and external crises, and work to resolve them through multi-track diplomacy that responds to the developments of the new world.
“We have a comprehensive vision for resolving conflicts and building peace, and we call on internal and external parties to play it, and to move together towards achieving a comprehensive and lasting peace” concluded Prime Minister Al-Kadhimi.