By John Lee.
His Excellency Prime Minister Nouri Kamil Al-Maliki opened the International Book Fair at Baghdad International Fair on Thursday.
The Prime Minister said in a press conference:
"The Iraqi culture and Iraqi intellectuals are the priorities of our attention today, this is a considerable development compared to the time of the former regime, when books were banned.
"Iraq has returned again to embrace intellectuals and books, and there is an opportunity for printing and publishing, and this is one of the signs and indications of an atmosphere of freedom that we are witnessing in Iraq.
"We must focus on promoting culture so that we can build a civilized state, as the interest in culture is one of the basic steps in the construction efforts."
His Excellency toured the book fair during which he met with the participants and listened to their views and ideas related to its development.
(Source: Prime Minister's Office)