Iraq, Turkey in talks for donors conference preparations

Baghdad ( Iraqi planning minister Salman al-Jumaili discussed Wednesday with Turkish ambassador to Turkey, Fatih Yildiz , preparations for an upcoming conference for Iraqi reconstruction donors.

The ministry’s media office said in a statement that Jumaili “stressed Turkey’s pivotal role to ensuring the success of the conference”.

According to the minister, “trade and economic ties between both countries have begun to recover after the security circumstances imposed by the presence of Islamic State militants, which affected the volume of trade between both countries”.

The statement quoted the Turkish ambassador saying that Turkey continues to support the Iraqi government’s efforts for reconstruction. He added that his country “ will take part in the Kuwait donors conference , where it will announce the size of the support it shall provide to Iraq, be it a grant, a soft loan or investment contributions”.

He added that he discussed in his meeting with the Iraqi minister “boosting of cooperation in the fields of standardization, customs, gold trade and rehabilitation of common border crossings”.

The statement added that Jumaili is paying a visit to Ankara on the 1st and 2nd of February.

Relations between Baghdad and Ankara had seen some tensions due to the deployment of Turkish troops in Iraq to counter Islamic State militants, as well as Ankara’s criticisms of the Popular Mobilization Forces, the mainly Shia troops Baghdad recognized late 2016 to fight the extremist group. Ankara also carries occasional air raids against Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) locations in northern Iraq.

Iraq, through the donors conference, slated for 8-12 February, hopes to collect USD100 billion for reconstruction efforts.