Foreign Minister Opens Iraqi Embassy in Paris

By John Lee.

Iraq's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hoshyar Zebari, inaugurated the new Iraqi Embassy building in the French capital, Paris, on Thursday following refurbishment work on the building.

Present at the ceremony were; Iraqi Prime Minister's Counselor, Dr. Fadhil Mohammed Jawad, Minister Delegate for the French Foreign Ministry for Development Affairs, Pascal Canfin, Representative of Paris Mayor, a number of members of the French Senate and National Assembly, Chairman of the Iraqi-French Businessmen Board, Managers of Total and Alstom companies, prominent figures of the Iraqi community, and media outlets.

The Minister delivered a statement, after the Iraqi flag raising and cutting the tape ceremony, reviewing the Iraqi-French relations since the King Faisal (I) time and how these relations evolved in all domains, the cultural in particular.

Minister Zebari touched upon the dictatorial time when the Iraqi Embassy turned into a nest for the security services to hunt down Iraqis abroad and to violate the International Agreements, for example; the assassination of the French policeman in 1978.

The Minister said the inauguration of the Embassy in Paris is part of inaugurating 12 Embassies and Consulates this year, adding that the Ministry bought and rebuilt 80 buildings after the change in 2003 to reflect the new democratic Iraq.

For his part, Mr. Pascal Canfin recited a speech reviewing the Iraqi-French relations since the time of Charlemagne and the Abbasid Caliph Harun Al Rashid, referring that the inauguration of the Iraqi Embassy HQ is an important event in the development of the Iraqi-French relations after the change in the federal and democratic Iraq through the contribution of the French companies in rebuilding Iraq and the increasing bilateral cultural cooperation.

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