Sign In / Up

Add contribution as a guest

Your email will not be displayed publicly
Benefit of signing in/signing up to personalize comment

Comment as a guest

Your email will not be displayed publicly
Benefit of signing in/signing up to personalize comment

Login

Not a member Register   Forgot Password
or connect using
 

Email

 

Rudaw

Iraq

Salih envisions Iraq as hub of revitalized Middle East

By Rudaw 22/11/2018
Italian President Sergio Mattarella (R) welcomed Iraqi President Barham Salih (L) to Rome on Thursday. Photo: Office of the President of Italy
Italian President Sergio Mattarella (R) welcomed Iraqi President Barham Salih (L) to Rome on Thursday. Photo: Office of the President of Italy
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Iraq has the potential to be the “heart of a new Silk Road,” President Barham Salih said on Thursday, explaining the country aims to start on that route with massive infrastructure projects. 

“For millennia, Iraq has been the catalyst, the precursor for regional order or disorder. I daresay that there is now an opportunity to reorient Iraq’s trajectory and propel the country towards prosperity and stability,” Salih said in a keynote speech at the Mediterranean Dialogues in Rome. 

The annual forum, hosted by Italy’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Italian Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI), aims to stimulate debate on regional issues.

Salih acknowledged the monumental task ahead of Iraq – restoring basic services, reconstructing war-devastated cities and towns, helping more than 1.8 million displaced Iraqis return home, and “drying up the swamp of corruption.” 

“These are no easy objectives to be obtained in a country that has gone through war, conflict, sanctions, and repression for decades,” he said. 

But the new government has an ambitious agenda to just that. Salih said they will soon launch a reconstruction agency to attract Iraqi and international investments in infrastructure projects like “deep port facilities in Basra, railway networks, highway networks, airports, industrial cities, dams, irrigation projects in the Nineveh plains, Garmiyan and Erbil, as well as land reclamations in the south.”

He said they hope this will bring employment to Iraq’s large youth population and boost the economy of the Middle East.

“Iraq is an important strategic hub that joins the Arab world with Iran and Turkey, and I will say to Europe too, and connects the economies of the Gulf and Europe. These projects could connect the countries of the region and Iraq could hopefully become the heart of a new Silk Road to the Mediterranean,” Salih explained. 

In order for this plan to happen, however, neighbouring countries must help and Iraq “should not be burdened with further tensions and escalations in our neighbourhood,” he said. 

“No other country has suffered what Iraq has suffered. Think about it – four decades of a sustained cycle of instability. This has to end. It is time Iraq’s stability and prosperity is turned into a common interest in the neighbourhood.”

Salih just finished a regional tour that saw him visiting Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Jordan, Iran, and Saudi Arabia, bringing a message that Iraq wants to work with its neighbours but will not tolerate interference.

“I do not see why our neighbourhood has to be condemned to the cycle of violence and deepening instability,” he said in Rome. 

“We can do it, but we will need help from our neighbours, we need help from our European neighbours for that matter. And it’s time that we focus on a positive agenda beyond decades of turmoil and conflict that have plagued our region.”



Italy's prime minister Giuseppe Conte (right) welcomes Iraqi President Barham Salih prior to their meeting at Palazzo Chigi on November 22, 2018 in Rome. Photo: Flippo Monteforte | AFP

The Iraqi president also met with Prime Minister Guiseppe Conte.

"They discussed the developments in the Syrian dossier and the situation in the region, stressing the importance of mitigating tensions in the region and concerted efforts to eliminate terrorism and dry up its sources," according to a readout from Salih's office

 

Salih visited Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki at his residence in Rome on Thursday.

"The President expressed his thanks for the congratulations, and wished the people of Palestine greater progress in achieving their full rights," read his statement.

Salih also "wished the people of Palestine greater progress in achieving their full rights."

 

The Iraqi president had a breakfast meeting with Italian President Sergio Mattarella and was expected to meet Pope Frances while in Rome. 


Updated at 9:25 a.m., November 22

Comments

 
Hishyar Zaxoy | 23/11/2018
What? Iraq becoming a hub, Mr Salih you are now hallucinating in your so called President empty title.

Be Part of Your Rudaw!

Share your stories, photos and videos with Rudaw, and quite possibly the world.

What You Say

Fact | 2/16/2019 1:19:33 AM
@renas They also supporter separatist qazi Mohammad to created small mahabad Republic.
kurdo | 2/16/2019 8:33:46 AM
iranians and kurds are losers, dont think iran is winner, wait and see comming years.
Putin: Northern Syria must return to Damascus control
| yesterday at 07:03 | (9)
kurdo | 2/16/2019 8:05:27 AM
kurds and iranians deserve this, you wanted democracy and got it
kurdo | 2/16/2019 8:32:23 AM
Kurds and iranians are the biggest addicts in middleast, i love how turks keep the drugs far from them self, to pay money and help addict kurds or...
Officials address ‘increased’ drug use in Kurdistan Region
| yesterday at 03:23 | (4)
kurdish natinlist | 2/15/2019 9:29:33 AM
He is a real ocompt's person can not slip between left and right hand as well as Turks.
kurdo | 2/16/2019 8:14:03 AM
just read the comment section and understand kurdish stupid mindset, your women marry other men and you worry about a venezuelan man.
Venezuelan oil worker packs up for Kurdistan Region, better life
| 10/2/2019 | (13)
USA | 2/16/2019 7:47:09 AM
The US has lost the Islamic intoxicated republic of Turkey ,we need a loyal friend therefore We need the Kurd ...we can not have Turkey as a friend...
US struggles to convince anti-IS allies to secure Syria after it leaves
| 5 hours ago | (1)

Elsewhere on Rudaw

Kirkuk or Kurdistan parliament, what is the priority? 3 hours ago |

Kirkuk or Kurdistan parliament, what is the priority?

“We are even ashamed before our people for how more
Kurdish MP calls on Iran to allow kolbars to work 5 hours ago |

Kurdish MP calls on Iran to allow kolbars to work

“Since we are in the state of blockage, let’s not more
0.578 seconds