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29.05.2019 - Article

Political relations

By accrediting ambassadors in Baghdad and Berlin on 24 and 28 August 2004 respectively, Germany and Iraq re-established full diplomatic relations. Since the beginning of 2009, Germany has had a Consulate-General in Erbil. Germany and Iraq enjoy close and friendly relations that date back to well before the founding of the modern Iraqi state. Since the regime change in 2003, relations have been intensive. Since the new Iraqi Government led by Prime Minister Abdul-Mahdi took office in autumn 2018, there has been a series of high-ranking visits. In December 2018, Federal Foreign Minister Maas met the Iraqi President, the Prime Minister and the Foreign Minister in Baghdad. In Erbil, he met the Prime Minister of the Region of Kurdistan-Iraq for talks. During a visit to Berlin in February 2019, the Speaker of the Iraqi Parliament met with the President of the German Bundestag and with Federal Government Ministers. In April, the Iraqi Prime Minister Abdul-Mahdi visited Berlin and had talks with Federal President Steinmeier and Federal Chancellor Merkel among others.

Support for stabilisation, reconstruction assistance, humanitarian aid and other support measures

Since 2014, the Federal Government has made available more than 1.7 billion euros for support measures, including almost 500 million euros to be used for humanitarian assistance for refugees and internally displaced persons. A further priority is stabilising the areas liberated from IS by promoting reconciliation projects, supporting civil security and boosting governance to improve living conditions on the ground.

Since 2015, the Bundeswehr, mandated by the German Bundestag, has been involved in Operation Inherent Resolve of the Counter-ISIS Coalition providing reconnaissance and air-to-air refuelling, as well as AWACS flights for aerial surveillance through NATO. Training courses are also being held for the Iraqi armed forces including on medical care and explosive ordnance disposal. On 19 October 2018, the mandate was extended to 31 October 2019.

Economic relations

The traditionally close economic ties between Germany and Iraq can be instrumental in helping reconstruct the country’s infrastructure and basic economic services, thus having a positive impact on the country’s ongoing political stabilisation. The Iraqi market offers big potential for German business.

The Federal Government also provides support to two German Liaison Offices for Industry and Commerce in Iraq (DWI), based in Erbil and Baghdad. The close economic relations between the two countries are also reflected in the meetings of the German-Iraqi Joint Economic Commission which are held periodically. At these meetings, which are co-chaired by the two countries’ Economics Ministers, the two sides discuss issues relating to cooperation in the economic sphere.

Cultural and education relations

Germany and Iraq cooperate closely in the cultural and education sectors. The two countries concluded an agreement on cultural cooperation in 1983. Over the past few years the Federal Government has markedly stepped up its engagement, thus continuing a long tradition of cultural cooperation with Iraq, particularly in research and higher education. Every year, some 500 Iraqi students, graduates and researchers come to Germany with assistance from the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). The DAAD also has a programme of its own to promote cooperation between German and Iraqi universities. There are a total of 14 university partnerships. The DAAD has had an Information Centre in Erbil since 2011. The Goethe-Institut has maintained a liaison office in Erbil since 2010.

Five Iraqi schools offering German instruction receive support under the Schools: Partners for the Future initiative: the German School Erbil, which was newly admitted to the programme in 2010, and four other Iraqi state schools. The German School Erbil is attended by around 100 students (from kindergarten up to and including 11th grade).

Another priority area of German-Iraqi cooperation is preserving cultural heritage through individual projects and cooperation arrangements of the German Archaeological Institute.

Through projects in the field of cultural relations and education policy, Germany is helping strengthen the media and civil society in Iraq.

Disclaimer:
This text is intended as a source of basic information. It is regularly updated. No liability can be accepted for the accuracy or completeness of its contents.

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