Pedro Sanchez visits Iraq

Prime Ministers of Iraq and Spain hold joint press conference on bilateral cooperation

BAGHDAD, December 28 — Prime Minister Mohammed Shiaa’ Al-Sudani held a press conference on Thursday, alongside his Spanish counterpart, Pedro Sanchez, to discuss avenues for cooperation between the two countries.

Al-Sudani emphasized his government’s efforts at ending International Coalition Forces’ presence in the country as a means to establishing stability. Forces have come under attack by armed groups, promting retaliatory strikes like ones launched by the United States against Kataib Hezbollah positions in Babil on December 25.

“We have reiterated the government’s clear stance rejecting hostile attacks on Iraqi bases,” Al-Sudani said. “These attacks affect the stability of the country.”

Officials have called for the coalition’s presence in Iraq to be restricted to providing support and advice.

Al-Sudani also extended congratulations to Prime Minister Sanchez for his country’s joint bid to host the 2030 FIFA World Cup, along with Portugal and Morocco, and praised the Iraqi national football team’s manager, Spaniard Jesús Casas García, stating that he enjoys widespread popularity in the country.

Al-Sudani further stated that he had directed Iraqi ministries and institutions to collaborate with Spanish companies.

The Iraqi Prime Minister’s office released a comprehensive statement regarding their meetings, which read:

Prime Minister Mohammed Shiaa’ Al-Sudani of Iraq and Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez held a bilateral meeting on Thursday morning to discuss enhancing cooperation between the two countries. Following the meeting, both leaders chaired extensive talks conducted by delegations from both nations, covering various topics and initiatives to establish economic partnerships.

The discussions resulted in an agreement to commence joint efforts towards a strategic partnership agreement between Iraq and Spain, with plans to resume the work of the Joint Committee in its 13th session in the coming months.

During the meeting, Prime Minister Al-Sudani highlighted promising opportunities for collaboration and partnership with the Spanish side. He emphasized the potential contribution that leading Spanish companies could add to development projects in Iraq, including in the areas of security, culture, environment, and sustainable development. Both leaders explored the possibilities of achieving mutual economic and investment progress beneficial to the friendly peoples of both nations.

Prime Minister Al-Sudani expressed Iraq’s readiness to benefit from Spanish expertise in solar energy, tourism, archeology, and climate change mitigation. He directed ministries and institutions to open up to collaboration with Spanish companies.

The discussions also addressed regional issues of mutual interest, and both leaders reinforced their bilateral positions on various challenges facing the region. Prime Minister Al-Sudani praised the Spanish government’s condemnation of aggression against Gaza and its steps to support relief efforts for the Palestinian people. He reiterated the importance of the international community taking action to stop serious violations in Palestinian territories.

In response, Prime Minister Sanchez expressed Spain’s desire to develop relations with Iraq, especially in the fields of transportation, defense, education, and climate change adaptation. He invited Iraq to join an international alliance to combat desertification and address climate change.

Prime Minister Sanchez commended Iraq’s role in promoting regional security, assuring that Spanish companies would support the Iraqi government’s plans. He emphasized the humanitarian aspect of the situation in Palestine, calling for a ceasefire in Gaza, the delivery of humanitarian aid to Palestinians, and efforts to establish a Palestinian state. Spain shared the concerns and positions of the United Nations Secretary-General regarding the aggression in Palestine, according to Prime Minister Sanchez.