H E Ambassador Dr. Hisham Alalawi met Mr. Ebrahim Ismael Ebrahim, deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation in the latter’s office on 5/8/2011.
At the beginning of the meeting the Deputy Minister welcomed the Ambassador and presented congratulations on the occasion of holy Ramadan and confirmed his government’s interest in the Iraqi Affairs as well as commending the implementation of the SOFA agreement with the United States which is to end the presence of American military troops in Iraq at the end of 2011. The Deputy Minister stressed that HE President Jacob Zuma is willing to visit Iraq after receiving an invitation from his Iraqi counterpart HE president Jalal Talbani amongst a delegation of officials, businessmen and investors which indicates the desire of the South African government to strengthen relations and enhance cooperation with the government of Iraq.
The Ambassador talked about the democratic process in Iraq and the elections in 2010 describing it as a pioneer experience that was not there during the previous dictator regime which suppressed the freedom of its people. He also talked about the irresponsible policies of the previous regime that led Iraq to be isolated from the International community and caused great damage to the economy and infrastructure stressing that the Iraqi government is now encourages flowing investments and expressed hope that South African companies would have a significant presence in Iraq.
The ambassador also said that the Iraqi government is keen on signing the first MOU on economical and technical cooperation with the government of South Africa and that HE Foreign Minister Mr. Hoshyar Zebari is personally following up the process to finalise the signing with the Iraqi Minister of Trade.
The Ambassador praised the efforts of the new Iraqi Foreign Ministry that has worked hard to open 71 Embassies and 15 General Consulates around the world. As for the South African Affairs he stressed that the Iraqi government is keen, through the constant follow up of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, for South Africa to open an Embassy in Iraq instead of its non-resident representation in Amman.
In conclusion, the Ambassador emphasized the importance of the Deputy Minister’s visit to Iraq heading a delegation of businessmen in response to the invitation of his Iraqi counterpart Mr. Labeed Abawy, Ministry Undersecretary for Politicy Planning and Bilateral Affaires, before the expected visit of HE President Zuma to Iraq this year. The Ambassador also conveyed the desire of HE President Talbani to visit South Africa next year to promote relations of cooperation and friendship with the government of South Africa.
The meeting was also attended by Mr. Muthana J. Othman/ Second Secretary at the Embassy of Iraq.