German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said on Wednesday that Iraq had been deemed safe enough for potential investors to visit, after meeting his Iraqi counterpart Hoshyar Zebari (pictured) in Berlin.
While discouraging tourism to Iraq, the German Foreign Ministry updated its travel warning to say that non-touristic visits ‘could be considered’ if sufficient precautions were taken, according to a report from DPA.
Zebari said this removed ‘a hindrance for many German business leaders who have a great interest in investing and working in Iraq.’
Westerwelle said ‘Iraq is a strategic market with enormous potential. German businesses can use their know-how to tap its full potential,’ referring to the country’s involvement in projects such as the Nabucco natural gas pipeline.
‘We need more German technology and German knowledge to rebuild this country,’ Zebari said.
He added that the Iraqi government felt safe from the uprisings taking place across the Arab world.
‘Iraq feels comfortable that the Iraqi people and the Iraqi government have established a form of democratic government,’ Zebari said. ‘In that sense Iraq has a better chance to work, to live, to outlast these challenges.’
Westerwelle urged Baghdad to push ahead with democratic reforms, and assure the safety of Christians living in the country.
‘A stable and democratic Iraq can send signals far beyond the country’s borders,’ Westerwelle said.
Westerwelle handed over to Zebari three ancient cuneiform tablets, made in Babylon 4,000 years ago, which were seized in Germany in 2005 after being illegally smuggled out of Iraq.