Iraq to hold third France-backed Baghdad Conference in November

Talks between regional and global leaders will focus on security and economy

Iraq's Prime Minister Mohammed Shia Al Sudani has been in office since October 2022. Photo: Iraqi Prime Minister Media Office
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Iraq will hold a security conference arranged by France at the end of November, according to Iraqi and French officials.

The "Baghdad Conference 2023 for economic integration and regional stability", the third such event, will return to the Iraqi capital, an official told The National.

"Invitations have been sent out to Arab and neighboring states as well as some European countries," the official said from Baghdad.

The meeting will follow the Baghdad II summit that was attended by officials from France and the EU in Jordan in December.

The first conference took place in Baghdad in August 2021 and was organised at the suggestion of French President Emmanuel Macron.

It comes as Mr Macron held a phone call with Iraq's Prime Minister Mohammed Shia Al Sudani late on Tuesday.

They "discussed the progress of preparations for the third edition of the Baghdad Conference for Co-operation and Partnership, which will be held on November 30 in Baghdad", according to a statement by the French presidency.

"They expressed their hope that this conference will pave the way for new projects, which will be useful to the sovereignty of Iraq, as well as to regional co-operation, particularly in terms of energy, the environment, water management and transport," the statement said.

Mr Al Sudani's office said the discussions focused on "enhancing relations regarding strategic partnership, economy, culture, security and the military. They also discussed Thales radar system purchase to fortify Iraq's airspace control and sovereignty."

The conference will be seen as a test for Mr Al Sudani, appointed Prime Minister in late October after more than a year of political deadlock.

Considered closer to Iran than his predecessor Mustafa Al Kadhimi, this will be Mr Al Sudani's second major international meeting.

The development comes as a French soldier was killed in Iraq in a four-hour firefight during a raid on an ISIS hideout on Tuesday.

The French government confirmed the death of soldier Nicolas Mazier, which it said occurred about 100 kilometres north of Baghdad.

France's Defence Ministry said in a statement that “a group of entrenched terrorists” had violently attacked Iraqi forces.

Four unidentified French soldiers were wounded and are in the US military hospital in the Iraqi capital, the ministry said.

Updated: August 30, 2023, 9:29 AM