PUTRAJAYA: Malaysia will reopen its embassy in Baghdad, Iraq, which has been closed for the past two decades, says foreign minister Zambry Abdul Kadir.
The reopening of the embassy will open up more opportunities for new cooperation in various fields, he said in a statement today.
The decision of the Cabinet was conveyed to the top leadership of the Iraqi government during his official visit to the republic from Aug 23 to 25.
Zambry said the visit, at the invitation of the deputy prime minister for international affairs and Iraqi foreign minister Fuad Hussein, was very historic and meaningful.
It was the first ministerial visit from Malaysia to Iraq after more than two decades (the last time was in 2002) since the outbreak of political unrest in Iraq in 2003.
The visit not only opened a new chapter in cooperation between Malaysia and Iraq but was also a start for Malaysia to play a proactive role in international relations, especially in West Asia, Zambry said.
He said this will allow Malaysia to return to the international arena in facing and dealing with global issues.
During the visit, Zambry paid courtesy calls on the top leaders of the Iraqi government, including President Abdul Latif Rashid, Prime Minister Shia’ al-Sudani and Parliament Speaker Mohammed Al-Halbousi. He also held bilateral talks with his counterpart.
“In the meeting with Iraq’s leaders, I reiterated Malaysia’s commitment to expand cooperation with Iraq in various sectors, especially economy, education, air connectivity and tourism,” he said.
Zambry said the Iraqi government also welcomed the presence of companies and expertise from Malaysia to implement infrastructure projects for the reconstruction of Iraq.
“I also expressed Malaysia’s readiness to explore all available routes and opportunities to increase trade and investment between the two countries, including increasing the export of furniture, pharmaceutical products, electrical and electronic products and commodities to Iraq,” he said.
He said Malaysia’s readiness to explore opportunities to increase trade volume and participate in airport construction and management projects, road systems and water resources management were also discussed.
Also discussed was the status of Petronas’s operations in Iraq as well as wider opportunities in the energy sector that Petronas can explore.
In addition, a number of important things were also achieved during the visit, including encouraging high-level visits between the two countries on a continuous basis.
The two sides also reached an agreement to promote trade, education and air connectivity (to promote tourism activities). They will also work together and with other Muslim countries to deal with issues related to Islamophobia.