Press Advisories

11. 10. 2012 15:44

Prime Minister: We are interested in the rebuilding of Iraq

Czech firms should take part in the renewal of Iraq by making investments into its infrastructure, said Prime Minister Petr Nečas following a meeting with his Iraqi counterpart Noori al-Maliki.

The main topics discussed during the summit included the development of economic and cultural relations between the Czech Republic and Iraq, the strengthening of cooperation in the area of security and defense, and the current situation in the region. Both prime ministers agreed that the Czech Republic should work together with Iraq in the postwar reconstruction process. Premier Petr Nečas and Iraqi Prime Minister Noori al-Maliki met on 11 October 2012

The premiers spoke of the need to renew and develop the Iraqi infrastructure in such areas as the crude-oil processing, electrical energy production, water management, and transport. "Czech firms enjoy very good reputation in Iraq and are able to offer their know-how and experience in these areas," said Nečas. "We value highly the position of the Czech Republic, specifically the fact that it stands by Iraq and is prepared to take part in its development," declared in turn Iraqi Prime Minister Noori al-Maliki.

"There is a large potential for the development of mutually beneficial economic cooperation between Czech Republic and Iraq," explained the Czech premier. He also praised his counterpart Maliki for arriving together with a large group of businessmen, mentioning that the program of the visit would include a business forum. Mutual economic relations are expected to be further developed by an Economic Cooperation and Trade Support Agreement signed by the ministers of trade of the two countries.

Czechs can take part in infrastructure development

At present, Czech entrepreneurs wishing to invest in Iraq can take advantage of opportunities in the farming equipment segment. During Nečas's visit to Baghdad, a contract was initiated to supply 1,500 Zetor tractors worth close to 50 million US dollars. The first 200 tractors were supplied already in the course of 2012. In the future, the assembly of tractors in Iraq could be restored.

In the past, Czechoslovak companies supplied Iraq with complete industrial facilities. For instance, even today, oil refineries built by Czechoslovak firms account for 60% of Iraq's crude-oil processing capacity. "In view of our past cooperation, Czech manufacturers are today in an excellent position to take part in the reconstruction and development of crude-oil processing facilities in Iraq," said Premier Nečas following the meeting. Another area where Czech industrial corporations have been active after the fall of Saddam Hussein's regime is the construction of the electric power infrastructure and the installation of irrigation systems. "The partnership between Iraq and the Czech Republic has a long tradition, and many Czech companies are now taking advantage of the opportunity to take part in infrastructure projects," added the Iraqi prime minister.

Intensive negotiations will now get underway between the Czech and Iraqi defense ministers regarding the sale of L-159 fighter jets. "Prime Minister Maliki has confirmed that Iraq is interested in buying Czech-made L-159 fighter and trainer aircraft," reported today Prime Minister Petr Nečas . "We reached a certain agreement, but the technicalities are yet to be fine-tuned," said Premier Noori al-Maliki.

The Czech prime minister assured his Iraqi counterpart that the Czech Republic supports the stability and development of Iraq as a democratic society. "I praised the Iraqi government for being able to stay in control of security after the withdrawal of the last of US forces," said the Czech prime minister after the meeting.

Iraq is the Czech Republic's long-standing trading partner since the era of the former Czechoslovakia. In the past, thousands of Iraqis studied at Czech universities. After 2003, the Czech Republic has taken part in the stabilization and renewal of Iraq by providing a chemical response unit and field hospital and by training Iraq's army and police instructors. At present, Czech firms provide Iraq with their expertise in building crude-oil processing, energy, water management, and transport infrastructure.

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