Press Advisories

27. 8. 2017 22:56

Prime Minister Sobotka is on an official visit to the Republic of Iraq, and has met Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi

Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka met the Prime Minister of the Republic of Iraq, 27 August 2017.
Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka met the Prime Minister of the Republic of Iraq, 27 August 2017.
The Prime Minister of the Czech Republic Bohuslav Sobotka is on an official visit to the Republic of Iraq on 26 and 27 August 2017. He met Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi during his trip. The main topics of their talk included inclusion of the CR in the coalition against the Islamic State, security cooperation of both countries, and participation of Czech companies in the incipient reconstruction of Iraq.

At the beginning of his meeting with the Iraqi Prime Minister, Sobotka highlighted the high level of Czech-Iraqi relations that were established already in 1933, i.e., a year after Iraq gained its independence.

He also appreciated the courage of Iraqi citizens, who risk their lives every day in the fight against terrorist groups. At the meeting, the Prime Ministers discussed mutual cooperation in the area of defence and security, as the CR has been, since 2014, a member of the Global Coalition Against Daesh along with other 61 countries. The aim of the coalition is to destroy the militants of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

Another topic of the meeting was the possibility of engaging Czech companies in the reconstruction of Iraq, including strengthening the country's internal security, restoring and modernizing the economy and infrastructure as well as cooperation in the energy sector with an emphasis on the recovery of the oil industry. Today, Prime Minister Sobotka handed a letter to the Iraqi Prime Minister detailing the possibilities and offering a portfolio how and where Czech companies can participate in the reconstruction of Iraq.

The Prime Ministers also dealt with the security situation in Iraq and in the Middle East region. At present, the Czech Army's Air Advisory Team is operating in Iraq as part of the Global Coalition Against Daesh. The main task of 35 Czech soldiers at the Balad Air Base is advisory and monitoring activities in operational training of ground and flying personnel of the Iraqi Air Force on the L-159 ALCA aircraft. Since April of this year, a five-member team of police experts has been operating at the Camp Dublin Base in Baghdad, who provide training of police recruits. Moreover, 17 members of the Czech Army's Field Surgical Team were sent to Iraq, who served at the Ayn al-Asad Base in Western Iraq between December 2016 and May 2017.

The Czech Republic is involved in the incipient state of reconstruction of Iraq. Development and humanitarian aid for Iraq by the CR amounted to 94 million CZK in 2012–2016. This aid will total approx. 65.5 million CZK in 2017. In addition to general donations to international humanitarian organizations, the CR provided, in February 2017, a donation from the foreign developmental aid budget totalling to 5 million CZK to immediate stabilization and reconstruction of liberated territories in Iraq.

Czech-Iraqi business relations are based on a long tradition. One of the perspective areas of the Czech-Iraqi cooperation is the petrochemical industry. One of the greatest successes of Czech companies in the Iraqi petrochemical industry was a 2015 conclusion of a contract to expand a refinery in Basra in the southwest of Iraq.

Czech exports to Iraq amounted to 127 million USD in 2016. A number of Czech companies have long been operating in the Iraqi market. One of these companies is AERO Vodochody AEROSPACE, which in the past concluded, among other things, a contract with the Iraqi Ministry of Defence to supply 12 L-159 aircraft.

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