Saudi Arabia and Iraq stress the confrontation of extremism and stress the importance of securing borders
The final statement of the work of the fifth session of the Saudi-Iraqi Coordination Council affirmed the determination of the two sides to strengthen relations between the two countries in all fields, and concluded a set of common files that the two sides discussed, especially the political and security aspects, as they agreed to continue joint cooperation in confronting the threat of extremism and terrorism, as they are An existential threat to the countries of the region and the world, and support Iraq’s efforts in cooperation with the international coalition to confront terrorism and extremism, stressing the importance of cooperation in securing the borders between the two countries.
The meeting of the Joint Coordination Council, in Jeddah, on Thursday, comes in implementation of the directives of Prince Muhammad bin Salman, Crown Prince and Prime Minister of Saudi Arabia, and Iraqi Prime Minister Muhammad Shia’a Al-Sudani, and the importance of bilateral work in strengthening these ties.
The Saudi side was headed by Dr. Majid Al-Qasabi, Minister of Commerce, while the Iraqi side was headed by the Minister of Planning, Dr. Muhammad Ali Tamim. The two sides approved the results of the Council’s work in its fifth session, and the findings of the sub-committees (Energy and Transformational Industries, the Political, Security and Military Committee, the Cultural, Media and Islamic Affairs Committee, The Agricultural Committee, the Economic, Trade, Investment, Development and Relief Committee, the Education, Youth and Sports Committee, the Transport, Border Crossings and Ports Committee, and the Financial and Banking Committee), which included stressing the importance of expanding the horizons of bilateral cooperation, and strengthening them to serve the interests of the two countries in various fields, especially political, security and trade. investment, cultural, educational, tourism, energy, and building on the positive results achieved in the mutual visits between officials of the two countries during the last period.
The two countries praised the successful efforts of the “OPEC Plus” group countries to enhance the stability of the global oil market, stressing the importance of continuing this cooperation and the need for all participating countries to adhere to the “OPEC Plus” agreement, in a way that serves the interests of producers and consumers to support the growth of the global economy.
The two sides appreciated the progress in the work of the joint team to implement the Saudi-Iraqi electrical interconnection project, with a capacity of 1,000 megawatts, in accordance with the principles of the agreement signed between the two sides, stressing their keenness and aspiration to quickly complete the offering and awarding procedures for the implementation of the project, in a way that achieves the aspirations of the leaderships of the two countries and their peoples, while the two sides stressed the importance of Providing the necessary requirements for implementing renewable energy projects, with a capacity of 1,000 megawatts, and continuing consultations and meetings to implement the Nebras Al Sharq petrochemical project.
They affirmed their determination to raise the pace of economic and investment cooperation to advance investment relations to the level of promising investment opportunities and projects owned by the two countries, through concerted efforts to create a fertile and stimulating investment environment, create appropriate investment conditions, intensify visits of mutual delegations, and hold joint investment activities periodically to discuss and explore opportunities. Promising investment and stimulating the government and private sectors to reach qualitative trade and investment exchanges, in a manner that achieved the aspirations of the two peoples, by launching a set of joint initiatives and supporting companies to enter government competitions. Iraq also renewed its invitation to Saudi companies to invest in promising opportunities in Iraq in various fields.
The meeting witnessed a discussion of the establishment of the Saudi Iraqi Investment Company, wholly owned by the Public Investment Fund, and opportunities for building investment partnerships in Iraq, in addition to reviewing various investment opportunities in a number of sectors.
The two sides praised the growth of the volume of intra-trade between the two brotherly countries, as the volume of trade exchange reached $1.5 billion for the year 2022, an increase of (50 percent) compared to 2021, which reflects the depth and sustainability of economic relations between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Republic of Iraq, and the two sides agreed to continue to enhance exchange. Trade between the two countries, benefiting from the opening of the new port of Arar, and accelerating the opening of the Jumaima border crossing.
Saudi Arabia praised the economic reforms pursued by the Iraqi government, and the two sides affirmed their keenness to enhance joint economic cooperation, which aims to achieve stability and economic prosperity for the two peoples, which enhances their ability to overcome the challenges posed by the recent international crises.
The two sides praised the role of the Saudi Commercial Attaché and the Saudi Companies Center in Baghdad, which contributed to the development of intra-trade between the two countries and investments, by enabling Saudi companies to open branches in the Republic of Iraq and facilitating access to investment opportunities and projects.
What has been accomplished in the financial sector was also praised, as the branch of the National Bank of Iraq will contribute to facilitating the process of intra-trade between the two countries, as well as the branch of the Iraqi Trade Bank when it started its work, and the announcement of the Arab National Bank in Saudi Arabia with the strategic partner (the Arab Bank) to establish «Arab Bank – Iraq”, to support the promotion of investments between the two sides, and the agreement to avoid double taxation, which is expected to enter into force soon, while it should be noted that cooperation between the two central banks in the two countries includes providing training courses for employees of the Central Bank of Iraq in a number of banking fields. Agreement on cooperation between the two central banks in the field of financial technologies, in addition to the existing coordination between other financial authorities, the Ministries of Finance and the Financial Markets Authorities.
The two sides stressed the importance of discussing prospects for cooperation and opportunities for integration and striving to build strategic partnerships in the special economic zones between the Kingdom and Iraq, by working to establish a special economic zone on the borders of the two countries.
Iraq appreciated Saudi Arabia’s announcement of $1.5 billion for the reconstruction of Iraq at the Kuwait Conference for the Reconstruction of Iraq, which was held during the period from February 12 to 14, 2018, and its pledges and contribution to it.
The two sides also discussed the existing development projects presented by the government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia through the Saudi Fund for Development, which aim to contribute to achieving sustainable development in the Republic of Iraq, while they discussed the challenges facing the progress of development work, and how to overcome them to achieve development goals of growth and prosperity, praising what has been done It was launched from development projects funded by the Saudi Fund for Development.
The two sides reviewed the active role played by the Saudi-Iraqi Business Council in developing economic relations and cooperation between the business sectors of the two sides, and supporting small and medium enterprises, stressing the importance of continuing these efforts in coordination with government agencies on both sides, to overcome any challenges facing the business community.
They also stressed the continuation of cooperation in the field of transport and logistical services between the two countries, facilitating the movement of land, air and sea ports, travel procedures and the transportation of goods between the two countries, as direct flights between the two countries were resumed via the national Saudi air carriers.
They stressed the intensification of cooperation and the exchange of views on matters and issues of concern to the two countries on the regional and international arenas, in a way that contributes to supporting and strengthening security and stability in the region and the world, and the need to remove the region from tensions, and strive to establish sustainable security.
The two sides agreed to continue communication and mutual visits to complement bilateral consultations at the highest levels, to expand and follow up areas of joint cooperation, in a way that serves the interests of the two brotherly countries, in addition to enhancing coordination in the field of mutual support and support within the framework of multilateral diplomacy, especially positions and positions in international organizations.
The two sides called for intensifying scientific, knowledge and educational cooperation between the two countries, maximizing the benefit from previous programs and initiatives, establishing academic and research partnerships between universities and higher education institutions in the two countries, and building (20) educational buildings in the Republic of Iraq, with the Iraqi side ready to overcome all direct obstacles to implement the project. The Council’s secretariat on both sides will follow up on implementation, in coordination with the relevant authorities.
Iraq appreciated the gift of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman bin Abdulaziz, to the Iraqi people regarding the establishment of a sports stadium, and Saudi Arabia’s support for the Iraqi sports sector, as the two parties agreed to enhance cooperation in the sports field by holding various sports events between the two countries, while the Saudi side praised Iraq for hosting the Gulf 25, and the resulting increase in cohesion among the peoples of the region.
The two parties agreed to develop a vision and a mechanism for cooperation and investment encouragement in the field of tourism between the two countries, while the two sides agreed on a joint action plan for the years 2023-2024 AD and to start working on it through the sub-committees emanating from the Council and following it up directly by the two secretariats of the Council.
The two sides also stressed the importance of the Council’s secretariats following up the implementation of the results of the meetings of the previous sessions of the Council and its sub-committees, and the agreements resulting from them, and completing the regular procedures for the ratification and entry into force of those agreements, which will contribute to expanding and strengthening cooperation in a number of fields, while a number of memorandums were signed. Understanding between the two sides in the areas of tourism, culture, media and news.
At the end of the meeting, the council presidents from the Saudi and Iraqi sides stressed the importance of strengthening the relations that bind the two brotherly peoples in all fields, and moving them forward to match the aspirations and visions of the leaderships of the two countries, in a way that achieves common interests, enhances the security and stability of the region, and pushes the wheel of development for the benefit of the two countries. the two brotherly peoples and achieve their well-being.