Foreign Minister Heiko Maas travelled to Baghdad on Monday (17 December). In the Iraqi capital he will hold talks with President Barham Salih, Prime Minister Adil Abdul Mahdi and Foreign Minister Ali Al-Hakim.
Why Europe needs a peaceful Iraq
The visit sends a strong signal that Germany still stands by Iraq, because the country’s future is important not only for the entire region, but also for Europe. For decades the fault lines of the Middle East conflict have merged between the Euphrates and the Tigris. In recent years, the terrorism and violence of so-called Islamic State have brought immeasurable suffering to the people. An international coalition succeeded in removing IS rule from swathes of the country. Nonetheless, the terrorist militia remains a danger – far beyond Iraq’s borders.
Germany provides assistance
Germany is committed to a broad-based approach to help ensure secure and stable development in Iraq. From humanitarian assistance for people in need to consultancy projects for a more efficient administration – the Federal Government has invested over 1.5 billion euros since 2014 to improve the framework for a peaceful future for the country. And this approach is bearing fruit: more than four million internally displaced people have been able to return to their homes.
Maas to urge progress
The fact that this year’s parliamentary elections went off largely peacefully showed that positive development is possible. Foreign Minister Maas will make it clear to decision-makers in Baghdad that the Federal Government expects further progress. If Iraq’s political leaders assume even more responsibility for reform and reconstruction, new opportunities will open up for the country. From Germany’s point of view, the priority is for government and society in Iraq to integrate all faiths and ethnic groups fairly and democratically.
While in Baghdad, Foreign Minister Maas will also meet young Iraqis who are doing their bit for their country by launching start-ups and initiatives. He will also meet Bundeswehr soldiers supporting the fight against Islamic State as part of the international coalition.