The British Ambassador: We appreciate the government's role in protecting the diplomatic missions, and the first batch of Corona vaccine will arrive soon

  • 11-12-2020, 16:15
  • +A -A

    Baghdad - INA - Harith Al-Abadi


    Edited by Ali Jassim Al-Sawad

    Photo by by Safaa Alwan


     The British ambassador to Iraq, Stephen Hickey, appreciated the role of the Iraqi government in providing security for diplomatic missions, while noting that the first batch of the Corona vaccine will arrive soon.

     Hickey said in an interview with the Iraqi News Agency (INA): “Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi held a meeting two months ago with the ambassadors of 28 countries from the European Union, the United States, Africa and Asia to discuss the issue of the missile attacks against the US embassy,” noting that “All ambassadors in Iraq were concerned about these attacks, and also there was a possibility that there would be a withdrawal of the US embassy from Iraq because of those attacks.


    He added that "the dialogue discussed the possibility of improving the level of security for diplomats and embassies in Baghdad," noting that "during the meeting, the efforts made by the Iraqi government to improve the level of security and provide protection for diplomats, but at the same time the Iraqi government encouraged improving the level of security."

     Hickey continued, "The meeting witnessed a positive proposal, and it was fruitful in the results and agreements, as Baghdad witnessed after that an improvement in the level of security, and a cessation in firing missiles against the US embassy, ​​and there was no withdrawal of the US embassy from its headquarters in Baghdad."  Diplomacy is a very big challenge in Iraq and it has a negative impact on stability, investment and the economy. "

    He pointed out that "he spoke with the prime minister about this issue and heard from him that there is an investigation in this field to search for those responsible for these attacks," noting that "there are attacks against the international coalition and embassies before the emergence of ISIS, and that there is a threat from armed factions, and this is clear."  Very much as there were statements and signs from these factions, and it is very important for the investigation to provide special results for the prosecution of those responsible for these crimes, because these attacks against foreigners and diplomats are also a threat against Iraqis, and that there are two children who were killed as a result of one of these attacks. 

    British strategy

     Hickey explained that "the British strategy in Iraq will not be affected by the targeting of diplomatic missions," noting that "the Iraqi government must have an appropriate response from the Iraqi armed forces, and that Britain supports state institutions and provides support to the Iraqi army, the Iraqi government, and from  It is impossible for Britain to take action on this issue. "

     He indicated that "the response to these attacks will be left to the Iraqi government to take the necessary measures against those involved and those responsible for these attacks, and that Britain has support for the security program, especially in the field of training, and when one of the diplomatic vehicles of the British embassy was attacked in Baghdad two months ago, they talked with all of them."  The parties and leaders in Iraq on this subject, and their response was unanimously against the attacks on embassies and diplomatic missions, and that he was happy that two and a half months ago there were not many attacks against the embassy, ​​and there was an attack, but it was exceptional to the cease-fire condition, and that as an ambassador he encouraged all leaders  And politicians to find a diplomatic and political solution to the issue of the presence of foreign forces in Iraq.

    Fighting terrorism

     The British ambassador pointed out that "the continuation of international support and cooperation with Iraq is very important to confront the threats of ISIS in some areas," noting that "the international coalition is present in Iraq at the invitation of the Iraqi government in 2014, but unfortunately until now there is a threat from ISIS, especially in the regions."  And that the continuation of support and cooperation are very important matters between the international coalition, the international community and the Iraqi government, and at the same time if there is a request from some politicians for the withdrawal of foreign forces, especially with the presence of a representative decision on the issue of the withdrawal of foreign forces, and this is greater than the international coalition.  .

     He pointed out that, "It is believed that there is a diplomatic and peaceful solution in this field, because the threat from ISIS differs today compared to in past years, and therefore the shape and structure of the international coalition will be different in the future and will witness a change. This moment will witness dialogues between the international coalition and the Iraqi government in this regard."  


    Hickey expressed his optimism that the new US administration will form a new agreement and strategy in fighting ISIS, stressing that "the most important thing is to respect Iraqi sovereignty, and there must be cooperation from the government with the international coalition to fight ISIS."

     He added, "The lessons must be learned from the year 2011, when the complete withdrawal of US forces and the international coalition took place, which led to the creation of fertile and fragile land and a golden opportunity to be exploited by ISIS terrorist gangs, and the recurrence of such a scenario must be prevented by continuing to support the international coalition to fight against it."


    Arming and training

     In the context of cooperation in the field of armament and training, Hickey stated that "Britain is ready to provide support in this field, and that the British government has previously announced that there is great support under the cover of the International Coalition for the Iraqi Army, and this witnessed a visit to Iraq by the British Minister responsible for the British Armed Forces, and he had a dialogue."  Very fruitful with the Iraqi Minister of Defense in this matter, and there are negotiations and talks revolving around the British-Iraqi armament program, "indicating that" his country is ready for military support and equipment whenever the Iraqi government requests it. "

     He continued, "The British government supports and coordinates with Iraq in the field of support for expertise and in the field of training and intelligence coordination, and there is excellent cooperation and training in this field, especially in the fight against ISIS, and the level of cooperation in this field was excellent, and this cooperation also witnessed abundant support from the international coalition forces."  For the Iraqi forces, and that all the politicians in the Iraqi parliament, including those who were demanding the complete withdrawal of the forces, had welcomed the idea of ​​exchanging intelligence information in the war against ISIS, and that there was support and international intelligence exchange to help eliminate the ISIS presence in Iraq.


    Consolidation of relations

     The British ambassador emphasized that "there is a close relationship between the British government and the Iraqi government, and that his government has provided a lot of support, especially in the humanitarian field, and has provided more than 300 million pounds since 2014," noting that "Britain is the second largest country in the international coalition in Iraq and there."  Great support in the economic field, Britain has established a fund with the World Bank to provide financial support for economic reforms, and more than three million pounds have been saved in this area, and Britain organized the Iraqi Economic Contact Group in London last August with countries (G7),The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, and the agreement was on how the international community should focus on supporting the Iraqi economy and helping in economic reform, and there is support for the proposals put forward by Minister of Finance Ali Abdul Amir Allawi, and all agreed to provide technical and technical support to the Ministry of Finance to implement economic reform, and at the same time this meeting  It was very important because it witnessed political support from the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, and that in the future it is likely that there will be financial support from the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.  This agreement is necessary and essential to fully support me in the future. "


    Early elections

     Hickey affirmed that "setting the date for early elections is a firm decision for the Iraqi government and parliament, and that these elections are met with support from the international community and Britain," noting that "when Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi assumed his position announced that there will be an early elections, which considered a government priority.  

    For the work of the new government, it is committed to fighting corruption, and it witnessed a government decision to hold elections in June of next year, and this is a firm decision of the Iraqi government and parliament.

     He indicated that "Britain does not have an opinion about the date of the elections, and it can only wish for transparent and fair elections, and as a result I had an interview with the Electoral Commission, and discussed the election mechanism," stressing that "the commission faces many challenges to conduct the elections that are supported by the international community, Britain and the Iraqi parliament to complete it. "


    Security challenges

      The British ambassador pointed out that "there is a great security challenge because with the continued presence of armed factions outside the scope and control of the state, it is a challenge to the Iraqi government, the diplomatic presence and the economic side in the country," noting that "in all neighboring countries, the loyalty of the armed factions is to the government itself, as well in Europe, Asia and China. Britain supports the efforts made by the Iraqi government, to gain control of all armed factions.

     He stressed that "the international community, in turn, provides support for state institutions and the Iraqi government, and that in the long run, state institutions must be strong, like Saudi Arabia and Iran, because it is impossible to have stability in the presence of armed factions, which are outside the authority and control of the state," adding that " In the end, there must be an intention to eliminate the uncontrolled weapon, not only from the government, but also from the Iraqi people, and the political elite in Iraq, and Britain appreciates the effective role of the Iraqi government to strengthen state institutions.


    Corona Vaccine

     Regarding health cooperation to confront the COVID-19 pandemic, the British ambassador said: "The Iraqi government has reserved eight million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine to confront Corona," expecting that "Iraq will soon be equipped with the first batch of this vaccine."

     He explained that "the United Kingdom is very happy with its cooperation with Iraq in the health field, especially that there will be cooperation in the field of supplying Iraq with a vaccine (AstraZeneca) from Oxford University," noting that "the Iraqi government has seized eight million doses of the vaccine."

     He pointed out that "the AstraZeneca vaccine is not expensive so that everyone has the opportunity to be vaccinated, and that a batch of the vaccine will be prepared to Iraq in the near future, which will lead to improving the health and economic level in Iraq, and that the Kingdom has saved more than seventeen million pounds through the bank."  The international community and the United Nations to provide support to deal with the outbreak of Corona virus, "noting that" hospitals in the Kingdom are crowded with Iraqi medical expertise in London. Iraq, in the role of its medical staff, supports the medical and health side in the Kingdom. "


    Fight corruption

     He stressed that "there is cooperation and coordination between the Iraqi and British judiciary in the field of fighting corruption and smuggling money," explaining that "the Iraqi government is interested in fighting corruption, and that Britain has a system of the rule of law.  There are concrete procedures from the British judicial system, and now there is cooperation and coordination between the Iraqi and British judicial systems in this field, with the British government having a strong will in terms of fighting corruption and money smuggling.


    Encouraging investment

     Hickey stated that "the entry of British and foreign investments into Iraq depends on the improvement of the security situation, stressing that" there is great interest from British companies, especially in the oil and gas sector, but the problem here is when I speak with British companies, they face two problems in their investments in Iraq, the first of which  Corruption and bureaucracy, and the second is the instability of the security situation, because there is concern for British and foreign companies in general about the security situation.

     He added, "If Iraq soon witnesses an improvement in the security situation, then there is nothing to stop British and foreign investments to invest in Iraq on a continuous and large scale," calling on "the Iraqi government to provide its youth energies with job opportunities far from relying on rentier oil."  By encouraging and supporting the environmentally and economically private sector, which in turn will make a safe environment for attracting foreign investments.


    Academic cooperation

     He pointed out that "there is a strong historical relationship between the two countries, the two governments and the two peoples in the cultural and academic fields, and the relations between the two countries witness excellent cooperation," explaining that "the British government provides 30 scholarships, in regard to postgraduate studies, free of charge.  The programs set up by the British Council to support the arts and exchange of experiences, including the educational field, to improve cooperation between universities in Britain and Iraq.

     He emphasized that "the British Institute launched new programs to support the curricula of the Ministry of Education in all Iraqi schools, and last week the British Institute witnessed the inauguration of an electronic digital library, and we seek to see in the future an improvement in the level of cultural support."


    Retrieving the archaeological artifacts

    Hickey stated that “the Iraqi embassy in London will provide Iraq with an antiquity piece as a goodwill from the British Museum," noting that "the British government pays great attention to the issue of recovering Iraqi antiquities."

     He added, "When Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi visited London two months ago, he visited the British Museum, and there was a dialogue between him and the British side in this field, noting that" the British government has submitted a request to lend these artifacts, and at the same time that his country's government is ready for dialogue on what  Related to this field, and soon the Iraqi Embassy in London will be provided with an antique piece as a goodwill from the British Museum.


    Entry attributes

     Hickey stressed that "Britain receives all of its entry by applying for an entry visa from its office in Baghdad," but with any problems related to this issue, the British embassy will be ready to provide what assistance it could with regarding this matter.

    And that "his country is not only seeking scientific and academic exchange between the two countries, but also tourism from Britain to Iraq."