Focus on balancing interests in the region – Foreign Minister Maas visits Baghdad

The Green Zone in Baghdad

The Green Zone in Baghdad, © picture alliance / Photoshot

08.06.2019 - Article

As regards regional conflicts, Iraq is striving to balance interests. Foreign Minister Heiko Maas discussed the tense situation in the Middle East during a visit to Baghdad on 8 June.

Internal challenges facing Iraq

Iraq faces many challenges. Even after the liberation from IS, the security situation remains unstable in large parts of the country and the situation facing refugees and displaced persons is fraught with problems. Over six million people need humanitarian assistance and 1.7 million people are internally displaced. At home, the Government has to try to meet the public’s expectations as regards security, reforms and reconstruction.

Regional policy aimed at balancing interests

Meanwhile, Iraq is surrounded by regional tensions and conflicts abroad. For example, it is affected more than almost any other country in the region by the escalation of the conflict on the nuclear agreement with Iran. Baghdad is pursuing a course of reconciliation on this issue, as well as a regional policy aimed at balancing interests. Iraq depends on good relations both with its neighbours and the United States.

Foreign Minister Heiko Maas thus met Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abd Al Mahdi and President Barham Salih in Baghdad today (8 June). The talks focused on how to de-escalate the situation in the region and how to persuade those involved to exercise restraint.

Iraqi Women Network – empowering women in peace processes

The topics of peace and stabilisation were also on the agenda with civil society when Foreign Minister Maas met representatives of the Iraqi Women Network. Iraq was the first country in the region to adopt a National Action Plan in 2014 aimed at enhancing the role of women in peace processes and conflict prevention.

Germany regards women’s participation in peace processes as a priority. As a current member of the UN Security Council, Germany put forward a resolution on supporting the victims of sexual violence and furthering the women, peace and security agenda. This resolution was adopted. Germany is now willing to support Iraq in implementing its Action Plan.

Visit to Tehran

From Baghdad, Foreign Minister Maas travelled to the Jordanian capital Amman for talks with his counterpart Ayman Safadi. Maas will then travel on to the United Arab Emirates and from there to Tehran. Here, too, his talks will focus on the situation in the region and the future of the nuclear agreement with Iran.


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