The first day of Deputy Minister Marina Sereni’s mission to Iraq, which featured several meetings with representatives of the local institutions, of the major international organisations present in Iraq and Italian personnel, has come to an end.
The Deputy Minister was received by the President of the Republic, Barham Salih, and by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Fouad Hussein, with whom she recalled the long and depp friendship that binds our countries, as well as the constant presence of Italy alongside Iraq, especially in the most troubled moments of Iraqi history. The meeting was followed by consultations with the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nizar Khairallah, which addressed all the major issues: defence and security, particularly following the handover of the command of the NATO Mission in Iraq (NMI) to Italy; the political situation in the country and the delicate negotiations for the formation of the Government; the regional context and the impact of the Russia-Ukraine war on balance in the Middle East; energy and climate change; the presence and work of Italian Development Cooperation in the country. The Deputy Minister expressed her satisfaction with the excellent relations between the two countries and took pride in Italy’s contribution to the stabilisation of Iraq and to the fight against Daesh, adding that she hopes bilateral relations in all fields may be further strengthened.
In the field of development cooperation, the Deputy Minister sealed a new Agreement, on Italy’s part, for the Government’s support to the UNDP Funding Facility for Stabilization: two million Euros to be allocated to the Iraqi Governorates now free from Daesh and to favour the return of about five million displaced persons to their areas of origin. Ms Sereni described the new contribution as concrete support from Italy to the stabilisation process in Iraq and to ensure better living conditions for its population, emphasising that a safer Iraq is a top priority for Italian Development Cooperation in the country.
Ms Sereni then had a working lunch with the UN SG’s Special Representative for Iraq, Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, the head of UNDP in Iraq, Zena Ali Ahmad and representatives of the main UN agencies in Iraq to further consolidate synergies between Italy and the UN system.
The day continued at the Italian-Iraqi Cultural Centre, co-run by the Centre for Archaeological Research and Excavations of the University of Turin and the Iraqi State Board of Antiquities and Heritage, where the Deputy Minister took part in a panel on human rights and women’s rights together with activists, institutional representatives and local and international experts on the Iraqi political reality.