Minister Al-Jaafari: In the Name of God, the most compassionate… the most merciful
We met today the American, Russian, Iranian, Kuwaiti, Egyptian consuls and we discussed the importance of Al-Basra province, and it's historical, geographical, demographic and economic aspects, meanwhile, we discussed its tragic incidents which put it under the aimed level although it belong to a rich country and it’s a city full of multi – resources.
The esteemed consuls expressed their readiness to cooperate as representatives for their countries, and I, in my turn – thanked them their participation in the donors countries conference which held in Washington where they donated a $2.100.000.000 two billion and one hundred million dollars, hoping to move forward.
Kuwait in its turn took into consideration holding a conference similar to Washington conference that may bring more benefits to Iraq.
The session covered various discussions and multilateral relations but gathered by concept of Iraq, its present and future and the surrounding risks and the determination to support Iraq and standing by its side. On behalf of you all, I extend the gratitude and appreciation to all the honorable consuls: the Egyptian, Kuwaiti, Iranian, Russian and American. Thanking them all for what they said and over cooperation for the benefit of Iraq, moreover, in occasion of opening the consulate offices the licensed business offices here in Basra from the Iraqi side, - god willing- a new colleague will join them, and it will be an Iraqi one here in Basra to work side by side with the other offices. I hope other countries to open their consulates as well.
As for us, Iraq today considered the opened lung, the Turkish can join whosoever, and us and any one visits Basra we think that it is an enrichment to the Iraqi status economically, politically and to all other aspects and levels; Thanking them in your name.
• Does this progress today in Al-Basra concerning the more consul presence aimed to encourage investments? Or for other political objectives related to the issue of the internal displaced persons and to counter terrorism?
Minister Al-Jaafari: Iraq starts initiating its progress long time ago speaking of investment and we mentioned the necessity of investment sector in Iraq.
Iraq is rising country and able to generate investment opportunities and it is not a poor country but a country went to many wars; 1st gulf war,2nd and 3rd; its infrastructure were devastated, then Iraq needs to promote for the rebuilding process; so we are facing mounting up economy and these countries can try… yes, we are experiencing exceptional situation but it won't last forever.
Concerning the IDPs, they are considered our real concern and we mentioned today in Al-Basra is one of the most cities that paid to counter daesh, and there were displacement waves took place in Mosul as you know and in some other provinces such as Salah El-Deen and Al-Anbar. They considered as permanent concern we mention it wherever we go and it is a part of our speech vocabulary which it is the necessity of facilitating all missions and to remove all obstacles that stand in the face of the IDPs and the immigrants so that they can return to Iraq and we have arranged all the necessary means for their residency.
It is not easy for us to see Iraqis leaving Iraq, but we can't prevent anyone and we hope to see them return but we don’t have the right to force anyone to return, when we provide the internal security, service and means of different ways of living, they will return; since Iraqi person loves his/ her Iraq whether inside or abroad.
• Does Al-Basra have the right to open offices to maintain the province's interests in other countries not similarly to Kurdistan but offices for maintain the interests?
Minister Al-Jaafari: we are country committed with its constitution, and we follow its permissible items. U.S.A. is considered the largest democratic entity in the world that consists of 50 states, 50 constitutions, 50 local sovereignty and 50 congresses, but the capital is Washington. Therefore, we want to reflect the strength of Iraq, its multiple cultures and protect Iraq, its unity and sovereignty that share these boundaries permissible by the constitution. No contrast between maintaining the federal government unity and the margin of resilience and freedom that the provinces enjoy.
• Can you inform us about the stance of Iraq regarding the events in Bahrain of targeting an essential component, and dropping of the citizenship of sheikh Isaa Al-Qasim
Minister Al-Jaafari: we said many times: as for our party, in the time that we do not want to interfere in the internal affairs of any country and we differentiate between the public society issues and humanitarian issues when any people suffers from we are not shy and not hesitating to say, and we have said earlier that: Sheikh Issa Al-Qasim represents a society status that have a resilient margin. We must speak freely and He should not expose to any type of oppression.
Citizenship is not a piece of cloth that can be taken off by man, and wear another; so we called in all occasions over the necessity of respecting the human rights and access of freedom to all components of society that we are dealing with.
Our speech is one, we are not interfering in its affairs and it is not forbidden to express our opinion especially these incidents are overlapping between each other.
This is not deemed interference in country's affairs, but there is society overlapping between one clerk and another and he interacts with his grassroot not only in his country, but all countries are reacting with each other.
How do explain what is going on today in Bahrain?
Minister Al-Jaafari: what is happening explains itself and means that there is no freedom, if there were any freedom, he should enjoys the minimum limit of his right in it, and we astonished and condemned and frankly said "we believe that this is violation to human rights".
• How do you assess to us the level of diplomatic representation of neighboring and friendly countries in Basra? Is there are any intention to open other consulates in it?
Minister Al-Jaafari: we welcome opening any other consulates in Basra but in accordance with our conditions or constitution. We believe this would be good for the mutual interests between our party and others. The more consulates to open the more cooperation will be generated especially that today they let me feel there is an excellent understanding to the nature of Basra and to the challenges that is facing it and they have a determination to contribute at enhancing Basra position in all the fields.
I believe that opening the consulates in Basra is a point of strength, enrichment and we welcome these initiatives.
• You mentioned earlier the aids given by Kuwait and USA, can you tell the details of these aids?
Kuwait has convinced to adopt the project of donor countries in Kuwait, whereas" the donor countries may participate… this is good thing".
Kuwait postponed receiving the remaining debt amount from Iraq the three installments of United Nations for the years 2014, 2015, 2016 due to current Iraq situation and we appreciate this attitude.
Cooperation between Iraq and Kuwait is true. And the strategy of new Iraq stipulates to treat with these countries, starting with neighboring ones and going forward to post neighboring countries and ending with the whole world should be based on joint interests and risks and we found an excellent replies, moreover Iraq is not suffer from throttling crisis since it's not disconnecting any country nor disconnected by other countries as well.
The diplomacy which developed and the government direction is to interact with all of these countries according to clear common conditions and specified conditions, this is what stressed by the presidency of council of ministers and by minister of foreign affairs which it is the necessity of adopting an open police to these countries based on the joint interests and joint crisis.
• Some countries enlisted the public mobilization in the lists of terrorism, what are the responses of ministry of foreign affairs regarding it?
Minister Al-Jaafari: I believe that you heard the speech of ministry of foreign affairs in more than one place, and how I defended the public mobilization, Yes, this hesitation and fears presented before, and rapidly vanished… the public mobilization engraved its name through its actions and morals, and its morals appeared in Al-Fallujah and the world began to understand its role now.
The name of public mobilization establishment mentioned at the Arab summit which held in Nouakchott in the Islamic republic of Mauritania. The public mobilization won its ground through its attitude and ethics.
At the beginning, a state of mixing up may took place against its brand, but thanks to its morals and its courage and credibility succeeded to act on the ground and then gain the respect of the world.
• It is known that there are joint and exchanged interests between the countries. Today, there is an issue that ministry of foreign affairs hasn’t announced about in specific statement, which it’s the issue of insulting the fishermen by two neighboring countries in the regional water… is there are any loans given to the local government of Basra as financial and economic loan to provide assistance on its projects?
Minister Al-Jaafari: Today, while I am here accidentally informed that the electric power is down in Basra, honestly I heard about this issue in the council of ministers which mentioned it at the beginning by the Prime Minister and the rest of the ministers were stressed the necessity to support Basra. This truth I witnessed by myself, and seen it by my eyes. There is no neglecting occurred by the ministers and no one forgot its historical and present importance and its multi resources. Nobody has forgotten about Basra and everybody is cooperative and agreed with concept. As you know the current difficult economic situation, that Iraq is facing. Whether we accept it or not, the oil prices for the last two or three days were fallen again to $32 per barrel, and we have multi resources that we should be stimulated to invest them in order not to fall in this distress.
As for the fishermen issue, I believe that there is cooperation conducted between Iraq and Kuwait to solve it and it's discussed by a joint committee and they have reached to new extents to solve it.
What is your opinion regarding opening a representative office of ministry of foreign affairs in Basra and to what extent it is important? What are the positive matters behind it to Basra province?
Basra Governorate Dr. Majid Al-Nasrawi: on behalf of the local government (the legislative and executive) and on behalf of the beloved people of Basra, I welcome the minister of foreign affairs, Mr. Ibraheem Al-Jaafari to his beloved people in province of Basra.
This is considered as great achievement to the Iraqi ministry of foreign affairs in Basra in order to take care of people of Basra province and the Expatriate Iraqis from the southern region.
As you know, in Basra province, there are many immigrants, displaced persons, expatriates, and they need to the services provided by ministry of foreign affairs in many occasions such as the notarizing of official documents and many other services. The foreign ministry keen to open the consulate here and represented by people of Basra province, and considered a great achievement made by Foreign Minister, indeed this consulate office will open new horizons to many expatriate people through its services represented by documents notarizing, review process and it will consider the medium of communication with other consulates.
We have here in Basra more than six consulate offices which needs to be communicated with, and his Excellency (Foreign Minister) and due to his busy schedule, the opening of this office will gave us more opportunities; since developing the diplomatic fact in the province will increase the marketing process of our provinces, its revenues and benefits between Iraq and other countries economically and politically and in many other activities.
We are confident that his Excellency the Foreign Minister will support us in this field, the field of increasing the diplomatic representation in Basra province.
• According to sources, the minister of foreign affairs contributed to restore the electric grid line of the Turkish barge, and there were efforts to facilitate the business issues of the local government, how do you evaluate the work of ministry of foreign affairs today? its cooperation with the local government in Basra province?
Basra Governor: we are communicating with his Excellency the Foreign Minister, he is not only minister of foreign affairs, he was the first prime minister of Iraq after the ending role of the overthrown regime and he is our older brother and our freedom fighter and the Iraqi citizen who gave a lot for the sake of Iraq.
We spoke today with his Excellency about this situation after we become hopeless! Yes, the cabinet approved the release of funds to pay the Turkish barge, but this needs to collect their dues, but as soon He (Foreign Minister) arrived to Basra, and heard about this issue, he intervened - his voice was supportive in the cabinet- in front of me personally, and He contacted the Turkish ambassador and said " I take responsibility, and will bring back the barges, indeed now it returned as brothers told me that they are on its way back to Basra.
We extend our gratitude over his solving to this situation, and to relief the people of Basra and he will share them the reward of the hereafter.