A new chapter in Iraqi-Spanish ties

10-point statement on bilateral cooperation

BAGHDAD, December 28 — Prime Minister Mohammed al-Sudani issued a joint statement on Thursday with his Spanish counterpart Pedro Sanchez, consisting of 10 points. Among the highlights, it stated that Spain continues its efforts to enhance the capabilities of the Iraqi armed forces through the NATO mission in Iraq, which it assumed command of in May 2023. Iraq reaffirmed its commitment to providing security and peace for Spanish contingent.

A statement from the Prime Minister’s Media Office, read:

On December 28, 2023, Prime Minister Mohammed al-Sudani met with Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez in Baghdad. The following key points were emphasized in their joint statement:

  1. Both leaders affirmed the excellent status of bilateral relations between the Republic of Iraq and the Kingdom of Spain, building upon the historical ties between the two nations and their peoples. They agreed to continue working together and deepen bilateral relations, deciding to initiate contacts for a new meeting for political consultations to discuss matters of mutual interest.

  2. Iraq and Spain have extensive potential for development in various areas, including defense, security, infrastructure, transportation, and water management. Both leaders agreed to continue diversifying bilateral economic and trade relations by encouraging Spain’s participation in Iraq’s reconstruction and economic modernization. They also agreed to hold a meeting of the Joint Economic and Trade Committee (JETCO) in Baghdad in 2024 to further enhance bilateral economic relations.

  3. Spain actively contributes to non-combat international efforts to enhance the capabilities of the Iraqi armed forces. This includes participation in the international coalition against ISIS (Operation Inherent Resolve) and NATO efforts to defeat ISIS, as well as the development of modern and well-prepared Iraqi armed forces and security institutions through the NATO Mission in Iraq (NMI), which Spain assumed leadership of on May 24, 2023. Iraq is committed to ensuring that international forces carry out their tasks in peace and security, and confirms that these forces are present at the request of the Iraqi government and that their work benefits the Iraqi people and the international community.

  4. The two presidents highlighted Spain’s efforts within the European Union, G20, and the United Nations to promote effective multilateralism, solidarity, and global respect for human rights. They emphasized the implementation of Sustainable Development Goals, empowerment of women and youth globally, promotion of peace, security, and stability through dialogue, defense of a rule-based international system, economic support for developing countries, and counterterrorism.

  5. The presidents also agreed on the importance of the Baghdad Conference for Cooperation and Partnership (Baghdad Conference) as a diplomatic tool to prevent the escalation of violence in the region. It serves as a framework to enhance regional cooperation and resolve conflicts. Spain commended Iraq’s pivotal role in facilitating the resumption of diplomatic relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia.

  6. Iraq and Spain welcome the UN Security Council’s decision issued on December 22, 2023, calling for creating conditions for a sustainable cessation of hostilities in Gaza. Both countries jointly call for an immediate ceasefire for humanitarian reasons. The presidents believe it is crucial to provide a credible political perspective to end the conflict based on UN Security Council resolutions.

  7. Iraq and Spain agreed to continue working towards achieving a comprehensive, just, and lasting peace in Ukraine in line with the principles of the United Nations Charter.

  8. The presidents agreed that the climate emergency poses a direct and existential threat to the global community and human livelihoods. Recognizing the need for strong and ambitious action from all countries, they expressed concern about the impact of drought, exacerbated by climate change, with serious consequences for their lands. Iraq and Spain discussed enhancing cooperation in bilateral projects related to water and sanitation. Prime Minister Mohammed Al-Sudani announced Iraq’s intention to join the International Drought Resilience Alliance (IDRA), an initiative launched by Spain and Senegal at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27). IDRA aims to provide coordinated, collaborative, and effective global action to build capacity for drought resilience at the global, regional, national, and local levels. It seeks to strengthen political support to assist countries, cities, and communities.

  9. The presidents agreed to develop relations in higher education and Spanish language education. Spain expressed its desire to stimulate the expansion of the Cervantes Institute in Baghdad and launch a teacher training program to promote the Spanish language.

  10. The presidents agreed to enhance bilateral relations in other areas of common interest, such as cooperation in justice, anti-corruption efforts, tourism, health, sports, historical heritage, and culture.