Posted on 05 January 2015.
By Patrick Schmidt.
After more than twenty-five years without an embassy in Iraq, the Saudi Foreign Ministry has announced that it will reopen its embassy in Baghdad.
Saudi officials will travel to the country this week to begin preparations for the construction of the new facility.
Saudi Arabia also plans to open a consulate in Erbil.
In an unrelated development, two Saudi border guards have been killed and a third wounded in a suicide bomb attack at the frontier town of Judayyidat Arar, close to the border with Iraq’s Anbar province.
(Sources: IBTimes, BBC)
(Flag image via Shutterstock)
Posted in Industry & Trade, Oil & Gas
Posted on 18 June 2014.
By John Lee.
Iraq’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has denied claims that some embassies and foreign diplomatic missions had closed their offices and left Baghdad.
In a statement on Tuesday, the Ministry said:
“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs asserts the invalidity of such reports which lack credibility. No embassy or mission left the capital. The Ministry is on regular contact with all missions in Baghdad and the provinces in order to provide the best ways and conditions of their work to serve the citizens and the interests of their own countries.
“During crises and as a procedure, the foreign missions sometimes take precautionary measures such as reducing unnecessary staff or redeploy their employees within the country.
“On the other hand, some of the missions and embassies increase the number of their employees because of the security, political and humanitarian developments in the country.”
Posted in Security
Posted on 17 January 2014.
Due to recent heightened security threats to Baghdad and the surrounding areas, the U.S. Embassy Annex Prosperity checkpoint will be closed through Sunday, January 19, 2014.
The U.S. Embassy advises American citizens to avoid the area around this public access entrance during this period. The Embassy is closed for business on Friday and Saturday and is closed on Sunday, January 19, 2014 in observance of the Martin Luther King, Jr. federal holiday. If you have an emergency, please call the American Citizen Services emergency line at 0760-030-4888 or 0770-443-1896.
The U.S. Embassy recommends that U.S. citizens in all areas of Iraq, including the IZ, maintain a heightened sense of security awareness and take appropriate measures to enhance personal and operational security at this time. U.S. citizens are advised to keep a low profile; vary days, times, and routes of travel; and exercise caution while driving and entering or exiting vehicles.
U.S. citizens traveling and residing abroad should enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). U.S. citizens without internet access may enroll directly at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate at their destination. By enrolling, U.S. citizens make it easier for the Embassy to contact them in case of emergency.
U.S. citizens may contact the U.S. Embassy, located in the IZ, via e-mail. In the event of a U.S. citizen emergency please contact: 0770-443-1286 (from Iraq) or 011-964-770-443-1286 (from the United States).
U.S. citizens traveling abroad should regularly monitor the U.S. Department of State’s, Bureau of Consular Affairs website, where the current Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and Country Specific Information can be found. The U.S. Embassy also encourages U.S. citizens to review “A Safe Trip Abroad,” which includes valuable security information for those living and traveling abroad. Follow us on Twitter and the Bureau of Consular Affairs page on Facebook as well. You can also download our free Smart Traveler App, available through iTunes or Google Play, to have travel information at your fingertips. In addition to information on the Internet, travelers may obtain the latest information on security conditions by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada, or outside the United States and Canada on a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
(Source: Embassy of the United States)
Posted in 'Your Country' - United States, Security
Posted on 13 October 2013.
The new Canadian Ambassador to Iraq and Jordan, Mr Bruno Saccomani, said his country has a six-month plan to strengthen ties with the Kurdistan Region and aims to open an embassy office in Erbil next year.
In his meeting with President Masoud Barzani, Ambassador Saccomani announced plans to considerably increase bilateral ties between both sides. He said, ‘During this visit, I sense as if Canada is behind other countries and their strong ties with this Region. We recognise that our engagement is limited, but we are working on a six month plan to enhance relations in every field.’
The meeting also touched on the significant presence of Canadian universities in Jordan and their successful efforts in attracting prospective students. Ambassador Saccomani pledged to work with their representatives to promote more engagement with Kurdish students and universities.
‘The implementation of this plan will bring us to speed with the other countries that already have ties with Kurdistan,’ he added.
Ambassador Saccomani said that Canada recognises the important achievement by the Kurdish administration in delivering peace and stability to its people despite being in an unstable area. He also congratulated the authorities for the success of the recent parliamentary elections.
Speaking about the recent attacks in Erbil, President Barzani said that those who had planned the attack had been arrested and will be held accountable to the law. He underlined the strong cooperation between the security forces and the people and said they will not allow terrorists to disturb the well-known peace.
Posted in Industry & Trade
Posted on 24 February 2013.
Officials from the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs and their mission in Baghdad came together in Erbil yesterday to officially open their embassy liaison office.
The Secretary-General of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mrs Renée Jones-Bos, was in the Kurdistan Region during the opening of the Erbil Embassy Liaison Office, which will be headed by Mr Jeroen Kelderhuis.
Speaking at the ceremony, the Dutch Ambassador to Iraq, Mr Harry Molenaar, welcomed government officials and diplomats to the ceremony, saying that the event marks a significant step in relations. He said, “I’m proud to host this event for two reasons; firstly because we conclude the first high-ranking official visit, and secondly of course is that we are officially launching our presence here in the Kurdistan Region.”
The Netherlands is the 26th country to have established a presence in Erbil.
Mrs Jones-Bos acknowledged the hardships that the Kurdish people faced under the former regime – many of whom fled to the Netherlands. She said, “We are here partly because of our good relations with the people of the Region and also because we think we have something to offer.”
She touched on the visible progress being achieved and the political maturity taking place, and praised Kurdistan’s leadership for their vision.
She also spoke of the monument in the Netherlands to commemorate the history and suffering of the Kurdish people.
Posted in Construction & Engineering
Posted on 26 January 2013.
By John Lee.
Bulgaria’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nikolay Mladenov (pictured), has opened a new Bulgarian Embassy in Baghdad.
The Minister’s Chief of Staff, Valeri Rachev, has been appointed Ambassador in Baghdad on a temporary basis until the Cabinet appoints a permanent representative.
Bulgaria had an Embassy in Iraq, but it was closed in 2003 over the war. The building is now inaccessible.
Bulgarian online news agency Dnevnik says the new building is outside the Green Zone but is near other diplomatic missions; the rent is $150 000 a year and the building is fully furnished.
The country also plans to open an Embassy in the near future in Erbil.
Posted in Industry & Trade
Posted on 25 December 2012.
By John Lee.
Bulgaria has pledged to open an embassy in Iraq in January, according to a report from Novinite.
In an interview for the Bulgarian National Radio, senior Iraqi parlamentarian Humam Hamoudi said that Iraq and Bulgaria need to boost bilateral relations.
“Iraq is very interested in Bulgaria’s experience in the health sector, in agriculture and irrigation. And we have many Iraqi students who have graduated in Bulgaria
“Very much like Bulgaria 20 years ago, Iraq is a country in transition, and stability is only gradually achieved.“
Posted in Industry & Trade
Posted on 17 October 2012.
By John Lee.
As part of a review of the United Kingdom’s diplomatic engagement with Iraq, which included the announcement today that the country’s consulate in Basra is to close, the UK’s Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, William Hague (pictured), has announced increased resources for the embassy in Baghdad and the consulate in Erbil.
In a statement issued today, the Minister said:
“We need to increase the amount of diplomatic resources we are able to concentrate in Iraq’s capital Bagdad. We are therefore expanding our Political Section to increase its reach across all of Iraq’s eighteen Governorates and help address some of the main issues preventing British businesses from entering into the Iraqi markets.
“We are recruiting additional staff in Baghdad to strengthen our UKTI office and help British businesses access markets throughout Iraq.“
He added that the Kurdistan Region continues to attract significant interest from British businesses:
“I am therefore increasing our staffing levels in Erbil. Today, for example, over 40 British companies are attending the Erbil International Trade Fair, with support from UK Trade and Investment (UKTI).
“We will recruit a new UKTI Commercial Attaché to expand the Consulate General’s already successful commercial Section. I have also made clear my firm intention that the Government should maintain the British Consulate-General Erbil on a permanent footing.“
Posted in 'Your Country' - United Kingdom, Industry & Trade