In continuation of the joint bilateral cooperation between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Republic of Iraq, and on the basis of the historical fraternal ties between the two brotherly countries, and in pursuance of the directives of His Royal Highness Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Crown Prince and Prime Minister – yes His God – and His Excellency the Prime Minister of the Republic of Iraq, Mr. Mohammed And with the importance of bilateral work in strengthening these ties, and the desire to strengthen the bonds of fruitful cooperation in all areas, the work of the fifth session of the Saudi-Iraqi Coordinating Council was held on Thursday, 5 Dhu Al -Kida, 1444 AH, corresponding to 25 May 2023 CE, in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, in the presence of His Excellency His Excellency Council members and heads of subcommittees from the Saudi and Iraqi sides. The Saudi side was chaired by His Excellency the Minister of Commerce Dr. Majid bin Abdullah Al-Qasabi, and the Iraqi side was led by HE Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Planning and Chairman of the Council from the Iraqi side, Professor Dr. Muhammad Ali Tamim.
And in view of the deeply rooted and historical fraternal ties and ties that unite the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Republic of Iraq, and between their two brotherly peoples, and in order to strengthen the distinguished relationship between them, today, Thursday, on Dhu al-Qida 5, 1444 Hijri, which corresponds to May 25, 2023, in the province of Jeddah, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the work of the fifth session of the Saudi-Iraqi Coordinating Council was held.
The final report on the work of the fifth meeting of the Saudi Arabian Coordinating Council confirmed the intention of the Saudi and Iraqi sides to strengthen relations between the two fraternal countries in all areas, summing up the work of the fifth meeting of the Saudi Arabian Coordinating Council. The Coordinating Council and the agreements and memorandums of understanding that have resulted from the previous four sessions serve to strengthen the brotherly relations between the two countries. Two brothers.
The parties approved the results of the work of the Council at its fifth meeting and the conclusions of the subcommittees (Committee on Energy and Transformational Industries, Committee on Political Affairs, Security and Military Affairs, Committee on Culture, Media and Islam, Committee on Agriculture). Committee on Economy, Trade, Investment, Development and Assistance, Committee on Education, Youth and Sports, Committee on Transport and Border Crossings and Ports, Financial and Banking Committee), including emphasizing the importance of expanding and strengthening the horizons of bilateral cooperation to serve the interests of the two countries and the two fraternal peoples in various fields, especially in political, security, trade, investment, culture, education, tourism and energy, and building on the positive results achieved during the recent mutual visits of officials from the two countries.
Both countries praised the successful efforts of the OPEC Plus countries to increase the stability of the global oil market, stressing the importance of continuing this cooperation and the need for all participating countries to adhere to the OPEC Plus agreement in a way that serves the interests of producers and consumers to support global economic growth. .
The parties highly appreciated the progress in the work of the joint team on the implementation of the Saudi-Iraqi 1000 megawatt electrical connection project in accordance with the principles of the agreement signed between the two parties, emphasizing the interest and desire to expedite the completion of bidding and award procedures for the implementation of the project in order to achieve the aspirations of the leadership of the two countries and their peoples, with both sides stressing the importance of securing the necessary requirements. energy projects with a capacity of 1000 megawatts, as well as the continuation of consultations and meetings on the implementation of the Nebras Al Sharq petrochemical project.
They reaffirmed their determination to increase the pace of economic and investment cooperation to promote investment relations to the level of promising investment opportunities and projects owned by the two countries through concerted efforts to create a fertile and stimulating investment environment, create proper conditions for investment, intensify visits of mutual delegations and periodically hold joint investment activities to discuss and explore opportunities Promise investment and encourage the public and private sectors to achieve quality trade and investment exchanges so as to realize the aspirations of the two peoples by launching a series of joint initiatives and supporting companies to participate in government competitions.
In addition, the sister Republic of Iraq once again called on Saudi companies to invest in promising opportunities in Iraq and in various areas.
The meeting discussed the creation of a Saudi-Iraqi investment company, wholly owned by the State Investment Fund, and the possibility of building investment partnerships in Iraq, as well as various investment opportunities in a number of sectors.
Both sides praised the growth in the volume of domestic trade between the two sister countries, as the volume of trade exchange reached (1.5) billion dollars in 2022 AD, an increase of (50%) compared to 2021 AD. , reflecting the depth and sustainability of economic relations between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Republic of Iraq, and both sides agreed to continue to expand the exchange. Trade between the two countries thanks to the opening of the new port of Arar, and the acceleration of the opening of the Jumima border crossing.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia highly appreciated the economic reforms carried out by the government of the Republic of Iraq, and both sides reaffirmed their readiness to strengthen joint economic cooperation aimed at achieving stability and economic prosperity of the two brotherly peoples, which expands their opportunities. overcoming the challenges caused by the recent international crises.
The parties commended the role of the Saudi Trade Attache and the center of Saudi companies in Baghdad, which promoted the development of internal trade between the two countries and investments, allowing Saudi companies to open branches in the Republic of Iraq and facilitating access to investment opportunities and projects.
What has been done in the financial sector has also been greatly appreciated, as the separation of the National Bank of Iraq will facilitate the process of internal trade between the two countries, as well as the separation of the Trade Bank of Iraq when it starts. of its work, as well as the announcement by the Arab National Bank in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia with the strategic partner “Arab Bank” of the establishment of “Bank Al-Arabi Iraq”, to support the promotion of investments between the two parties, an agreement on the avoidance of double taxation, which is expected to come into into force soon, it should be noted that the cooperation between the two central banks in the two countries includes training courses for employees of the Central Bank of Iraq in a number of banking areas, and it was agreed to cooperate between the two central banks in the field of financial technology in complementing existing coordination among other financial departments such as finance ministries and financial market authorities.
The parties stressed the importance of discussing the prospects for cooperation and integration opportunities, striving to establish a strategic partnership in special economic zones between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Republic of Iraq by working on the creation of a special economic zone on the borders of the two countries.
The Republic of Iraq appreciated the application of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for $1.5 billion for the reconstruction of Iraq at the Kuwait Iraq Reconstruction Conference held February 12-14, 2018, and its pledge and contribution to it.
The parties also discussed the existing development projects submitted by the Government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia through the Saudi Development Fund, which are aimed at contributing to the achievement of sustainable development in the Republic of Iraq, and also discussed the challenges facing the development process. and how to overcome them in order to achieve the development goals of growth and prosperity, praising what has been done. It was launched from development projects funded by the Saudi Development Fund.
The parties considered the active role of the Saudi-Iraqi Business Council in developing economic relations and cooperation between the business circles of the two sides and supporting small and medium-sized enterprises, emphasizing the importance of continuing these efforts in coordination with the government bodies of both sides. parties to overcome any challenges facing the business community.
The parties agreed to continue joint cooperation in countering the threat of extremism and terrorism as an existential threat to the countries of the region and the world, as well as to support the efforts of Iraq in cooperation with the international coalition to counter terrorism and extremism, emphasizing the importance of cooperation in protecting the borders between the two fraternal countries.
They also stressed continued cooperation in the field of transport and logistics services between the two countries, facilitating the movement of land, air and sea ports, procedures for the passage and transportation of goods between the two countries, as well as direct flights between the two countries. have been relaunched through the national air carriers of Saudi Arabia.
They stressed the need to intensify cooperation and exchange of views on issues and problems of interest to both countries in the regional and international arenas in such a way that it contributes to maintaining and strengthening security and stability in the region and the world, as well as the need to bring the region out of tension and strive to establish sustainable security. .
The parties agreed to continue communication and exchange visits in addition to high-level bilateral consultations, to expand and develop areas of joint cooperation in a way that serves the interests of the two brotherly countries, and to strengthen coordination in the field of mutual support and support within the framework of multilateral diplomacy, especially in positions and functions in international organizations.
Both sides called for intensified scientific, scientific and educational cooperation between the two countries, maximizing the benefits of previous programs and initiatives, establishing academic and research partnerships between universities and higher education institutions in the two countries, and constructing (20) educational buildings in the Republic of Iraq, while the Iraqi side is ready to overcome all direct obstacles to the implementation of the project. Council Secretaries from both sides will monitor the implementation in coordination with the relevant authorities.
The Republic of Iraq highly appreciated the gift of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud – may God bless him – to the brotherly people of Iraq regarding the construction of a sports stadium and the Kingdom’s support for the Iraqi sports sector, where both sides agreed to strengthen cooperation in the field of sports through various sports events between the two countries, while he praised the Saudi side with Iraq hosting the Persian Gulf 25, and the resultant increased cohesion among the peoples of the region.
The parties agreed to develop a concept and mechanism for cooperation and investment promotion in the field of tourism between the two countries, and also agreed on a joint action plan for 2023-2024 AD and begin work on it through subcommittees established by the Council and directly following it by the two secretariats of the Council.
The parties also stressed the importance of the Council secretariats following up on the results of the meetings of the previous sessions of the Council and its subcommittees and the agreements reached on their basis, as well as the completion of regular procedures for the ratification and entry into force of these agreements, which will contribute to the expansion and strengthening of cooperation in a number of areas, while signed a number of memorandums of understanding between the two parties in the fields of tourism, culture, media and news.
At the end of the meeting, the chairmen of the councils from the Saudi and Iraqi sides stressed the importance of strengthening the relations that bind the two brotherly peoples in all areas and moving them forward so that they correspond to the aspirations and vision of the leadership of the two countries in order to achieve common interests, strengthen security and stability in the region, as well as pushing the wheel of development for the benefit of the two fraternal peoples and achieving their well-being.