Joint press conference for Minister of foreign affairs Dr. Ibraheem AL-Ja'afari and his Egyptian counterpart Mr. Samih Shukri, held in Baghdad on the 19 of July 2017.
In the name of God, the most merciful the most gracious
First, we welcome his Excellency brother Dr. Sameh Shukri in his second country Iraq; this might be his fifth visit here as we used to move the Iraqi – Egyptian relations forward as long as we meet at various levels, such as: strengthening bilateral cooperation, partnership between both countries especially in economic and combating terror levels, there has been cooperation between Iraq and Egypt. Brother foreign minister played a role in cooperation whether during the bilateral meetings in Cairo and Baghdad or while we meet him in the Arab League in many times, such cooperation had a significant impact in strengthening relations and achieving common interests.
It is well known that Egypt's role is central and essential, so we are looking to keep Egypt dealing with Arabic states in general and the neighboring states to Iraq in specific a balanced treatment, to preserve its influence and to have a role in the Arabic states crisis that need who can calm down tensions and bring points of view closer. Taking the public interest into account, we believe that Egypt can be practicing such role and Iraq can cooperate with it for the farthest limit in order to spread peace, love, brothering and confidence among Arabic countries.
We are extremely supporting the republic of Egypt in combating terrorism especially in Sinai peninsula and we believe that neither terror nor security can be divided, so Iraq and Egypt security is one as we never hesitate to stand aside with Egypt. Egypt security and safety is very important for us.
We are ready to cooperate with Egypt at all levels to stabilize security, especially Egypt have stood to our side. I could remember the statements and dialogues with his highness president Abdulfatah Al-Sisi through which he never make an obstacle or conditions regarding supporting security situation in Iraq and to be in our side in combating terror, so we exchange similar feelings with our Egyptian brothers and deal similarly.
There is an intervention in the Egyptian affair; we are not with the military or political intervention in any Arabic country. The Iraqi foreign ministry has stated its statements before the Arab league that Iraq doesn't accept interventions ever; we are with Egypt to refuse any sort of intervention in its affairs, whatever and by whomsoever.
Dialogue initiatives aim to find a solution to the crisis between Arabic countries such as Egypt and Qatar, we are seeking to settle these disputes and resolve them peacefully in order to avoid the region any kind of troubles.
The strategic dialogue committee and economic and trade cooperation between both countries would extend the economic relations, it is the best safety valve to deepen relations between us and Egypt, especially there are long term relations. The Egyptian model is highly respected and trusted for Iraqis, so we believe that the strengthening of relations and economic interests between us and Egypt represent a common interest that could impact on other levels.
Once again, I extremely welcome our dear brother Mr. Samih Shukri in Baghdad in his second country.
Mr. Samih Shukri: Your Excellency dear brother Dr. Ibrahim Al-Ja'afari, first of all I would like to express my gratitude for the usual cordial reception for myself and for the accompanied delegation, as we usually happy to be here in our second home Baghdad. I was honored to be received by his highness Prime minister, and held political discussion session with my brother his Excellency the minister, which allowed us the chance to discuss most bilateral relations between both countries, and to reassert on the common interests to strengthen the economic, political and cultural relations. We have discussed them most, and preparing for the supreme common committee between Iraqi and Egyptian prime ministers which will be a new outset for the tight historical relations connects both people, through which we hope to directly participating to achieve stability in both countries and progressive in the next phase. It was an opportunity to renew the greetings that have been passed by President Abdulfatah Al-Sisi to his Excellency the Iraqi president and Prime minister for the great achievement to liberate Mosul. This achievement is attributed to the Iraq people and by which Iraq will regain its stability and control all of its territories, and to restore the actors of a national state and its long-standing institutes that could rise up again by the Iraqi people ambitions, and characterized with civilization and history.
We emphasized on the importance of the Iraqi-Egyptian relations and its privacy that could participate in stabilizing the Arabic, Islamic area and the rest of the world as long as such relations were enhanced.
Each country has its capability. The solidarity among them would enhance the Arabic solidarity and the common work to serve both people's interests.
We are looking to have full-cooperative and understanding period in the next stage. Our views are identical whether in bilateral frame or issues concerning the regional area. We are always enhancing the importance of Arabic countries to protect its national security away from any interventions from outside the Arabic region.
We have the ability, the staff and the civilization credit that make us involve in this task with ably, so we always hope prosperity and success to Iraq and its people, and the next phases to be stable and safe, and we are completely ready to stand aside with Iraq as Iraq stands aside with Egypt to confront all common challenges.
Thank you very much.
Question to Dr. Samih Shukri:
For being an effective player, how would Egypt support Iraq after Daesh and how much desire Egypt has to enhance security and intelligence cooperation with Iraq to combat terror?
Mr. Samih Shukri: the challenges posed by terrorism, its spread and the sacrifices presented by the Iraqi and Egyptian people throughout the armed forces, police, security forces and the innocent people that have been targeted, make it necessary to enhance our common cooperation and eliminate this phenomenon entirely and deal with it comprehensively.
It is not a security confrontation, it is an ideological one, so all these organizations must be targeted wherever they are and regardless what name they hold. We have offered to our brothers in Iraq, our readiness to extend cooperation and strengthen the building of Iraqi capabilities whether the armed forces, intelligence, training or exchanging information and etcetera, starting with citizenship and the preservation state's actors, this would make all efforts able to accomplish the mission without being away from the targeted goal, to achieve stability and provide security and safety to people, reunion and prevent the fragmented of our countries that will lead to dismantle and waste the common interest.
Question to Mr. Samih Shukri :
Iraq is the most affected Arabic country by terrorism, as it was on top countries to confront it.. Would it be discussed to have Iraq among the four countries calling to combat terrorism?
Mr. Samih Shukri: We are fully confident that Iraq has a special situation for what has been achieved in liberating Mosul and eliminating terrorist hotbeds and understands the threats posed by terrorism evaluating the various elements helped to strengthen terrorism in the former period whether by funding, providing safe shelters for them or using media outlets to promote and spread their ideology and make it attracted by others and Iraq's support to the efforts given by Egypt and the three fraternal Arabic states in the current complementarily frame to eliminate this phenomenon wherever it is, we are monitoring it within the Arabic area in Yemen, Libya and Syria and we have to intensify our efforts and cooperate in away achieves the goal that gives us a comprehensive victorious so that all Arabic states return stable, that why we had to take a strict stance toward Qatar interventions and the influential Qatari policies to our stability and security for which we had given effort, blood and swell to preserve the stability and the safety of our people from terrorist attacks that have found support and shelter by the Qatari policies.
The international society must show solidarity to this effort, because there is no way to use these organizations to achieve political purposes. We have realized that their actions went backfire on them for those who supported them. This is an exclusionary bloody ideology.
Question to Mr. Salih:
After Iraq's victory in Mosul and liberating more than one province from Daesh as well, Iraq has moved to the reconstruction phase which is tough and requires lots of money and Arabic support, what is Egypt's stance regarding supporting Iraq's efforts? Would Egypt have a supportive stance to Iraq in the Arab league and in the international events?
Mr. Samih Shukri: Egypt was always supporting Iraq during the past period, whether before the Arab league, in the Security Council and the united nations and its specialized bodies as far as the challenges Iraq faces and also extended to threat the Arabic national security and the Egyptian one as well, we have showed solidarity with Iraq in all levels until victory achieved by liberating Mosul. We value the destructive scenes we saw in Mosul and other parts of Iraq that require a step of reconstruction to serve the people and provide life means.
We have capabilities Despite the economic hardships Egypt faces, but this must not lose sight that Egypt has a history of work in Iraq and the Egytian companies whether in the private and public sectors had contributions based on common interests and exchanged trust by providing these capabilities to serve Iraq.
This is a common interest for us, as it is an essential subject to be discussed in the supreme joint committee and surly we are going to support any international effort as we are going to participate too to achieve this interest.
A question to Mr. Samih Shukri:
how would the regional states see the Popular mobilization attitude after the victories achieved on ground, especially there are foreign interventions aim to suspend the progress of these forces to liberate the rest controlled areas by Daesh?
Mr. Samih Shukri: We are exchanging the efforts given by the Iraqi government and the Iraqi armed forces with appreciation for what have been achieved. We support the Iraqi government efforts and not to intervene in the internal affairs, it is a matter to be discussed by the Iraqi institutes in a way serves the Iraqi people and the building of Iraqi institutional capabilities.
Question to Mr. Samih Shukri:
Will Egypt have a role in reviving economy and activating trades, investment and reconstruction of liberated areas, and will it have a role in the destroyed strategic projects and rebuild the liberated areas infrastructures?
Mr. Samih Shukri: we are looking for Solidarity with the Iraqi government and find good opportunities to the Egyptian companies as far as the reconstruction concerns, these companies have the experience not only in Iraq, but in the Arabic and African countries and have proven its worthiness and its administrative and technical capabilities that qualify it for this mission, it is a common mission.
We are looking to join Iraq in these needed efforts, it is a common interest between us and as much as Iraq's capabilities enhanced, Egyptian would be enhanced too. It is a credit to achieve stability in the region and serve its people.
A question to Mr. Samih Shukri:
there is a big Gulf crisis that Egypt stood aside to the countries boycotted Qatar, does this visit came to guarantee the Iraqi stance and to tempt it to certain side during this crisis?
Mr. Samih Shukri: I have briefed his Excellency on the dimensions of this crisis and Egypt's goals and some fraternal Arab countries which is identical to the Iraqi goals. We are working to eliminate terrorism and its funding source and the recruitment of foreign fighters. We noticed the destructive impact in Iraq because of the terror, terrorism would never be spread unless there is a support, arming and funding and attracting warriors and open borders to infiltrate to Iraq.
We are seeking to amend the policies included Qatar policies which has to be away and completely neutral from any ideological stance which could lead to adoption and providing safe hotbeds for the terrorist fighters.
There is a vital matter and a common interest, we are insisting to approach the intended goal. We have paid tax of blood because of these wrong policies so some mechanism and building confidence must be taken place.
Dr. Ibraheem Al-Ja'afari: Iraq has never be invited to talks with this or that group, but we have discussed various topics with his Excellency brother Samih Shukri in general.
Iraq's stance is clearly public, we have called all of our brothers especially the Arab countries that have a similar size and influence as Egypt to keep this intangible values preserving the balanced relations between the states and to be used to stabile the relations for the Arabic interest.
A question to Mr. Samih Shakur:
the joint Iraqi Egyptian committee supposes to be activated and hold the first meeting soon in Baghdad, what is this committee's role and goals?
Mr. Samih Shukri: this senior level committee was found to confirm the determination and accordance of both countries to enhance means of cooperation between them, as it will concentrate on economic cooperation, investment exchange and enhancing trade exchange as well.
There are huge opportunities and capabilities despite the challenges both countries face as far as economy concern, but at the same time both of us have civilization and scientific and cultural capabilities qualify them to cooperate and new exploration for economic cooperation. We hope of a new start for the tight relations between both countries to come up with serious results.
A question to Mr. Samih Shukri:
it is obvious to everyone that there is a marching and a Kurdish movement within the Arabic and international level to get as much supporters for the referendum project and independency and declare a Kurdish state, what will be Egypt's stance if Masoud Barazani asked Egypt to support his declaration of a Kurdish state?
Mr. Samih Shukri: Egypt has been moving with its relations on the global and Arabic level based on respect and not intervening in their internal affairs, there are related issues to Iraq's future and it is an internal affair. The people of Iraq and the political leaders should draft what is beneficiary for the fraternal Iraqi people.
We are witnessing the implications of pressure on the Arabic region and the national governments, there are many experiences confirm that unity and raising citizenship might achieve the interest, but it is an affair of the Iraqi people to determine how to approach it, they can decide independently. Any foreign impacts or pressures are to achieve unrelated interest to the Iraqi people one.
A question to Dr. Ibraheem Al-Ja'afari:
What are the portfolios to be discussed during the strategic dialogue session between both countries at the level of foreign ministers, and what are the topic that going to be discussed?.
Dr. Ibraheem Al-Ja'afari : we have talked about the strategic coordination, it is an essential anchor for the Arabic issues especially the Arabic area suffers sever inflammation as far as reactions concern, they have great economic, political and moral fortunes and a strategic location, all these facts make cooperation existing between two countries have their own civilization and history.
We talked about the strategic coordination in the Arabic issues, enhancing intelligence and security cooperation especially we have just finished the battle against Daesh in Mosul, but this doesn't mean that the challenges are zeroed, night bats might appear here and there because they are not an organized army, but they are a suicide groups acting in the known brutal way.
We emphasized on reconstruction and building, Egypt has a long history in Iraq in this regard, we also talked about agreements and memorandums of understanding between Iraq and Egypt, as we emphasized on the necessity to activate them and improve economic cooperation.
We think that the economic base is the most important in building political relations between countries, Iraq and Egypt has old economic relation.
We asked the foreign minister Mr. Samih Shukri to spend more effort for a consulate understanding to exempt "Visas" from Diplomats and facilitate the entry of Iraqis, especially there big number of Iraqis in Egypt, some are there for medical treatment and others for trade purposes.
We talked about opening an Iraqi cultural consulate in Egypt, because there is an approximately 20 thousands Iraqi students in Egypt.
Mr. Samih Shukri: I would take the opportunity to confirm our intention to take all these issues in consideration through coordination and cooperation, we had discussed lots of these issues in the past, and agreed to set mechanisms in regard to security and consulate cooperation and, hopefully all these issue will be organized by a memorandum of understanding.
The establishment of the cultural consulate in Egypt is important for us to keep the Iraqi cultural communication exist among intellectuals in both countries.
We discussed issued related to old economic relations and what's been hindered, there is a willingness to take obstacles away to open the path for a better future, we are hoping to remove these old economic hindered issues to be free.
We also talked about the nomination of senior international positions, coordination and showing solidarity between both countries on this regard. We will carry on this coronation to confirm Arabic candidates' validity to take prestigious international positions, God willing.