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."