At a ceremony in Basrah on Thursday (21st) the Iraq Britain Business Council Executive Chairman Baroness Nicholson signed a memorandum of understanding with the Governor of Basrah Dr Khalaf A Khalaf, signalling a new era of close co-operation.
Dr Khalaf said the agreement meant: “Basrah regards the IBBC as the door to the UK.”
Meanwhile Baroness Nicholson pledged to “promote Basrah as the major cultural and economic hub of the region.”
Around 40 guests including IBBC members gathered at the IBBC’s office on Basrah’s Corniche for the signing which also attracted national and local media, including Iraq’s 24 hour news channel.
Dr Khalaf told reporters the Basrah Governorate wanted a closer relationship with the IBBC because of the breadth of the Council’s membership and international corporate membership.
The agreement includes Basrah’s pledge to regard IBBC as the leading British trade council and for the IBBC to support the governorate in its relations with member firms.
There was also an agreement to help Basrah set up twinning arrangements with British cities.
After the signing ceremony Dr Khalaf was made the Council’s first honorary member and joined IBBC members for an informal round-table discussion on his vision for Basrah which included his ” dream” of building a 100 kilometre corniche to Al Faw. He also spoke of the Basrah region’s tourist potential.
The previous evening IBBC members attended a pre-signing reception at Basrah’s International Hotel where Basrah Engineering‘s Rasmi al Jabri said: “Basrah is potentially one of the richest cities in the world. Now we need to work towards realising that great goal.”