Iraq Wants to Open to Bulgarian Business

January 24, 2013, Thursday // 08:13
Iraq Wants to Open to Bulgarian Business: Iraq Wants to Open to Bulgarian Business
Bulgaria's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nikolay Mladenov, is on a two-day official visit to Iraq aiming at intensifying bilateral relations. Photo by BGNES

Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Hussain al-Shahristani has proposed organizing a Bulgarian business forum in one of his country's largest cities.

al-Shahristani further said Bulgarian companies would be welcomed in Iraq since it plans to accelerate reconstruction in upcoming years.

He spoke during a meeting with Bulgarian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nikolay Mladenov.

On Wednesday, Mladenov opened the new Bulgarian Embassy in Bagdad.

The Minister, who is on a two-day official visit to Iraq aiming at intensifying bilateral relations, said the opening was the most important step in reinstating friendship between the two countries.

Bulgaria and Iraq maintain diplomatic relations since 1958, but the Embassy in Iraq was closed in 2003 over the war, and the old building is now inaccessible.

"After we were forced to close so many diplomatic missions over fiscal cuts, I am glad we managed to open one in Iraq," Mladenov further stated at the ceremony. It was attended by Iraq's Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari and the Chief of the delegation of the European Union Yana Hibashkova.

In addition to al-Shahristani, the leading Bulgarian diplomat also met with Iraqi Parliament Speaker Osama al- Nujaifi, and with counterpart Hoshyar Zebari.

al-Shahristani has further pointed out that the opening of the Embassy was an excellent step ahead in bringing back Bulgarian business in the Middle East. He has explained his country needs experts in the construction sector, farming, infrastructure and communications.

Zebari has asked from Bulgaria to help in the establishment of the institutional capacity of the Iraqi Parliament. The diplomats have also discussed the conflict in Syria.

"You country must showcase more the progress in transitioning to democracy for other countries in the Middle East and Northern Africa. You have achieved something very important such as leading debates mainly on the political stage," Mladenov told al-Nujaifi during their meeting.

On Thursday, the Minister is visiting the Kurdistan autonomous region to talk to local authorities. Bulgaria plans to open an Embassy in the near future in the city of Erbil, the largest one in Kurdistan.

The new Embassy building in Bagdad is outside the maximum security Green Zone in the Iraqi capital where State institutions are located. It is near other diplomatic missions and diplomats will work and live there

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