Commenting on the new Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani's inaugural visit to Germany on Friday, Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz said he was pleased that the Iraqi Prime Minister's first trip to Europe was to Germany. The Federal Republic of Germany has provided substantial support to Iraq in recent years: "In particular," said the Federal Chancellor, "to enable the re-stabilisation of Iraq following the difficult struggle against the IS's reign of terror.”
The deployment of German armed forces in Iraq has been extended until the end of October 2023 to "secure stabilisation, prevent the resurgence of the IS, and promote reconciliation in Iraq." Germany is strengthening the Iraqi security sector as part of NATO Mission Iraq, as well as supporting the country in the fight against IS within the international Anti-IS coalition OIR (Operation Inherent Resolve).
Continuing commitment and collaboration
Germany was also committed to using civilian instruments to stabilise Iraq, strengthen development collaboration, and provide humanitarian aid, said Scholz. "The Prime Minister and I have agreed today to continue our commitment and collaboration.” For Iraq, he continued, the accession of the new government would be an opportunity to open a new chapter in the country's history –
adding that the Federal Government supported Sudani's plans to focus particularly on economic reforms, creating jobs and growth, and improving public services. "These are ambitious goals that we very much support."
Gas supplies and climate protection
Another topic discussed during the visit was the potential supply of gas to Germany. According to Federal Chancellor Scholz, they had "agreed to remain in close contact regarding this matter.” The Federal Government, he said, wanted to exploit a wide range of import opportunities: "Rather than depending on individual suppliers as in the past, we will mobilise many others with whom we will collaborate closely, and Germany would very much welcome Iraq as a gas and oil import partner."
The Iraqi Prime Minister had already told the media that Iraq was in a position to meet the needs of Germany and the global market, adding that his government was planning to increase oil and gas production.
However, the Federal Chancellor also emphasised the fact that: "Protecting our climate is the primary order of the day." In terms of energy, he said, it was important that Iraq diversify its economy to reduce its reliance on fossil fuels, adding that rapidly reducing methane emissions and increasing the use of renewable energy sources were also important considerations. "Of course, in that country, solar power, in particular, offers great potential."
Siemens Energy expands collaboration with Iraq
The two leaders also discussed ways to deepen economic relations between the two countries, Scholz said, citing Siemens Energy as a current example: "I am delighted with the continuing agreement between the Iraqi Ministry of Electricity and Siemens Energy to reconstruct and modernise Iraq's energy sector,” he said, adding that this long-term partnership would not only significantly increase the resilience of Iraq's power supply, but also make a major contribution to the decarbonisation of the energy system, thereby reducing emissions. "This represents an important contribution by the German economy to the stabilisation of Iraq and I am hoping for a speedy implementation of the agreement," said Scholz.
"We also stressed how important it is for us not only to have the support of Siemens Energy," said Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani, "but also of other German companies, be it in the field of business or of agricultural investment."
Return of Iraqi migrants
Federal Chancellor Scholz and Prime Minister Sudani also discussed the subject of migration: "We both agree that we want to work together to enable Iraqi migrants to return home," said the Federal Chancellor, "and incidentally also to deepen our collaboration on migration with regard to skilled workers."
As the Federal Chancellor pointed out, the consequences of the past wars are also still tangible in Iraq: Iraq is home to 1.2 million internally displaced men and women, including many Yazidis. "During our meeting, I highlighted the importance of providing a perspective for the future and continuing to advance the process of national reconciliation." Scholz said he had expressed his hope that the human rights situation and support for the personal development of women would improve.