Iraqi Prime Minister, Adil Abd al-Mahdi, announced from Beijing that Iraq will be joining China's "Belt and Road" global infrastructure initiative.
Iraq will join China’s “Belt and Road” global infrastructure development project, Prime Minister Adil Abdul Mahdi said on Monday (September 23) during a visit to the Chinese capital Beijing.
“Iraq has gone through war and civil strife and is grateful to China for its valuable support,” said Abdul Mahdi, in comments broadcast on Chinese state media outlet CCTV and reported by AFP.
“Iraq is willing to work together in the ‘One Belt, One Road’ framework,” he added.
“China would like, from a new starting point together with Iraq, to push forward the China-Iraq strategic partnership,” said Chinese President Xi Jinping.
In addition, eight agreements and memorandums of understanding (MOUs) were signed covering covered financial, commercial, security, reconstruction, communications, culture, education, security, and foreign affairs, the prime minister’s media office said in a press release.
The task of rebuilding Iraq’s infrastructure following the war against Islamic State is immense. As a result, the Iraqi government has pursued a foreign policy of neutrality and friendship with other states, including some who are engaged in serious rivalry and competition, such as the US and Iran.
Washington and others have criticized the ambition of the Belt and Road, saying it is a way for China to expand its political and influence over countries.
Even without the Belt and Road, Iraq and China have strong trade ties with a trade volume of $30 billion last year. Iraq is one of China’s top energy suppliers.
The Iraqi Prime Minister invited his counterpart Premier Li Keqiang visit to Baghdad to further strengthen relations between the two countries.
The Iraqi delegation arrived in China on September 19.