Iraq and France sign deals to boost economic and security ties

Relations to increase in areas such as renewable energy and fighting corruption

French President Emmanuel Macron, right, welcomes Iraq's Prime Minister Mohammed Shia Al Sudani to Paris. EPA
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Iraq and France have signed several deals aimed at bringing Baghdad closer to Paris economically.

Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia Al Sudani landed in Paris on Thursday for his first official visit as leader and met French President Emmanuel Macron.

The two sides “signed a treaty that seeks to strengthen bilateral relations in anti-corruption, security, renewable energy and culture”, the Elysee Palace said on Friday.

Mr Macron and Mr Al Sudani “reaffirmed their commitment to complete big network infrastructures projects based on French know-how … In that respect, they have pledged to grant Iraq the expertise of French companies”, the Elysee Palace said.

“In terms of alternative energies, they showed their commitment to the implementation of TotalEnergies's multiple-energies project … based on solar energy and investments in gas.”

Mr Al Sudani said the agreements between the two countries have set up a “road map” for improved relations.

“A short while ago, my friend Macron and I signed the Strategic Partnership Agreement, which lays down a road map for expanding the horizons of co-operation between our two countries in various fields,” he said.

“We will continue to work with friends on serious partnerships that will guarantee Iraq achieving economic reform and sustainable development, as we planned in the government programme.”

French company TotalEnergies in 2021 signed a $10 billion contract with Baghdad, but work on a number of projects has yet to begin.

These include the construction of oil and gas processing facilities with the capacity for electricity production, along with a one-gigawatt photovoltaic power plant

Mr Macron has visited Iraq twice since taking office in 2017. He said last month that Baghdad must follow a path that is not “dictated from outside”.

Mr Al Sudani's visit aims to “develop opportunities for close co-operation with France and to provide prospects for investments and trade exchange”, the Prime Minister's office said in a statement given to The National.

“The visit will witness the signing of a strategic partnership agreement between Iraq and France, which will include the economic, investment and security sectors, combating terrorism and extremism, cultural exchange and promoting peace in the two countries, the Middle East region and the world.”

Updated: January 27, 2023, 6:00 PM