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The Prime Minister of Iraq, Mohammed Shia Al Sudani, emphasized the importance of enhancing relations between Iraq and the US across various fields, rather than limiting them solely to security matters. This statement came during an interview with the American news outlet “CNN”, in which the security issue was discussed.
Al Sudani stated that his country’s relationship with the US should evolve beyond security issues. Regarding the invitation extended to him by President Joe Biden, Al Sudani mentioned that “the US and Iraqi Foreign Ministries are arranging a meeting later this year.” He pointed out that “one of the key topics that must be discussed is the Strategic Framework Agreement.”
He further emphasized that the agreement “needs to be activated between the two nations, especially given the genuine desire to develop this relationship. Our relation with the US and Iraq should not be limited to the security aspect, despite its importance.”
Al Sudani elaborated, “However, there is a need to activate other files, which is the task at hand. Iraq is a country with significant economic resources and is influential in the energy market, offering numerous opportunities for American companies to work in various economic, service, and urban sectors in Iraq.”
Regarding the security aspect and American intervention in the country, the Iraqi Prime Minister stated, “What concerns us is the security situation and our relation with the Global Coalition in Iraq.”
Al Sudani added, “Today, Iraq does not require combat forces, whether from the US or other members of the Coalition. Today, the Iraqi security forces have reached an advanced level of readiness and capability to maintain security stability and track down ISIS cells, which are scattered in deserts, mountains, and caves and do not pose a threat to the state’s integrity,” as he expressed it.
And Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia Al-Sudani engaged in a pivotal meeting with the American Chamber of Commerce, where he was joined by prominent businessmen, investors, and representatives from major U.S. companies. Mr. Steve Lutes, Vice President of Middle East Affairs at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, organized the meeting.
Prime Minister Al-Sudani expressed his gratitude for the organization of the meeting and emphasized Iraq’s determination to harness its untapped natural resources for the benefit of its citizens while enhancing its strategic relationship with the United States.
During the meeting, the Prime Minister’s address revolved around key points, including oil, gas, economic reforms, and investment.
In his statement, Al-Sudani articulated, “Our government is committed to directing revenue towards diversifying crucial economic sectors beyond oil, recognizing the need to reduce dependence on oil for budget stability and meeting financial obligations, a departure from past practices.” He added, “The wasteful practice of discarding associated gas will cease in 2-3 years, with the anticipated completion of gas projects initiated in collaboration with Total, Emirati, and Chinese companies during the fifth licensing round.”
Highlighting a historic milestone, Al-Sudani stated, “We have unveiled 11 fields and exploration blocks in Anbar, Nineveh, and Najaf governorates, housing natural gas resources that will see their first-ever investment in Iraq’s history.” He emphasized that economic reform remains a top priority, contingent on a vibrant and capable private sector working closely with the government.
In his efforts to create a conducive business environment for foreign enterprises, explicitly focusing on American companies, Al-Sudani affirmed, “This aligns with the vision for the partnership between Iraq and the United States.” He also expressed strong commitment to reducing bureaucracy and combating corruption through legal means, ensuring that companies are not subjected to extortion or excessive red tape.
“We will personally oversee and champion every project and file associated with companies, resolving all obstacles in the process,” Al-Sudani declared. He further revealed ongoing reforms in the tax and customs systems, with preparations underway for an economic reform bill aimed at addressing gaps in multiple laws.
challenges affecting trade and investment relations between Iraq and the United States.