On 17 September, 2020 the Iraqi Minister of Foreign Affairs, H.E Dr. Fuad Hussein held a press conference at the Brussels Press Club. The press conference gave an overview of the Iraqi visit to the EU, NATO and European Member States (Germany, Belgium and France). The Minister outlined his conversations and the topics that were on the agenda for Iraq in order to further cooperation with European Member States and institutions.
First and foremost, the priority of Iraq remains the fragile security situation. The Minister will continue to engage in a strategic dialogue with NATO on their training mission in Iraq, that has provided essential support to their armed forces and security sector. With the security sector in need of reform, and the security situation throughout the country remaining extremely fragile, working to improve the security of Iraq is essential, because without stronger security, Iraq will continue to falter in all other sectors.
Significantly, the economic collapse in recent months must be addressed, as oil prices have crashed and the COVID-19 pandemic have exacerbated the failing economy. Without a stronger security sector, the country will not be able to attract foreign investment and build stronger trade relations.
Throughout the conference, The Minister stressed the importance of Iraqi sovereignty, and the ability of Iraq to make decisions on behalf of Iraqis, without foreign intervention. International actors, namely the United States and Iran have used Iraq as a playground for their heated tensions in recent months. Iraq will continue to foster strong and friendly relations with both countries, recognizing the strategic benefits of being in alliance with both countries. In promoting robust relations with both Iran and the United States, Iraq is not taking sides in the tensions between these countries and hopes to continue to prioritize the improvement of the security sector within Iraq.
The statement from The Minister was followed by a question and answer session with journalists. Topics such as the impact of COVID-19 on the country, repatriation of foreign terrorist fighters, the threat of the Islamic State resurgence and Middle East neighborhood relations were all discussed.