This Wednesday, the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission, Josep Borrell, concluded his first visit to Iraq.
In Baghdad, High Representative/Vice-President Borrell held meetings with President Barham Salih(link is external), Prime Minister Mustafa Al Kadhimi(link is external), Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein, as well as the Speaker of the Iraqi Parliament, Mohammed Al Halbousi(link is external). He also held discussions with United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary General (SRSG) Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert and representatives of civil society.
The visit underlined the EU’s firm commitment to supporting the sovereignty, stability and prosperity of Iraq, our determination to remain highly invested in the country, from the continued fight against Da’esh to economic reforms. The High Representative’s visit came timely after the successful Regional Conference for Cooperation and Partnership, which brought together Iraq’s neighbours in Baghdad on 28 August, and showed the crucial bridge-building role Iraq can play in the region.
In his bilateral consultations, Josep Borrell addressed a range of topics of mutual interest, including elections, security, economic reforms and migration. It was agreed to further enhance institutional engagement by holding the next EU-Iraq Cooperation Council at Ministerial level as soon as possible after the parliamentary elections.
High Representative/Vice-President Borrell commended the ongoing efforts to prepare genuinely free and fair Iraqi-led, Iraqi-owned elections that are inclusive, credible, and participatory. “We want to continue supporting Iraqi democracy, follow the preparations of the October polls with great interest and upon Iraqi request are deploying an EU Electoral Observation Mission”, Borrell stated.
High Representative/Vice-President Borrell also visited Erbil, where he met with the leadership of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, notably President Nechirvan Barzani(link is external) and Prime Minister Masrour Barzani(link is external). The High Representative stressed the importance of the Region, and of good cooperation with federal authorities, for the stability and prosperity of Iraq, commending in particular the Region’s invaluable contribution to the fight against Da’esh. He announced the expansion of the EU Advisory Mission to Iraq (EUAM Iraq), which provides advice and expertise on civilian security sector reform to Iraq, to open a permanent presence in Erbil.
During his visit, the High Representative also had the opportunity to visit the treasures of Mesopotamia at display in the Baghdad museum(link is external). EUAM Iraq assists the Iraqi government in recovering stolen artefacts.