Egypt, Iraq move forward with oil-for-reconstruction plan

CAIRO: The oil-for-reconstruction agreement signed between Egypt and Iraq will enter into bilateral implementation as soon as constitutional procedures are complete, Egyptian Prime Minister has said.

Last month, the Egyptian government said it had reached a preliminary consensus with Iraq on establishing the mechanism.

The prime minister added that there is a presidential directive to begin a number of joint projects, pending the completion of ratification procedures.

Madbouly said Egypt is ready to provide any raw materials, supplies or equipment to the Iraqi side. He added that Egypt is keen to overcome any routine measures that may hinder the activation of the agreement, and prepare a presidential directive to form a permanent follow-up committee for the projects.

The agreement will see Egyptian companies implement development projects in Iraq in return for quantities of oil imported by Egypt.

Egyptian Minister of Petroleum Tarek El-Molla recently said that support for petroleum products in Egypt fell by 46 percent in the first quarter of the 2020-2021 fiscal year.

The Egyptian prime minister also said that a tripartite summit between Egypt, Iraq and Jordan is scheduled to be held during the first quarter of next year, in order to announce a number of joint projects between the three countries.

Madbouly stressed the importance of setting up implementation mechanisms, so that preparations for the upcoming tripartite summit can be completed.

Iraqi Minister of Planning Khaled Battal said that Iraq is keen to arrive at a specific list of development projects, which will be implemented in cooperation with the Egyptian side.

“In the next few years, a specific list of projects that will be implemented will be reached, provided that it includes one or two projects nominated by each of the relevant ministries, and that there will be continuous follow-up by the relevant ministries on both sides, bearing in mind that a specific timetable will be set for the implementation of these projects, which has been agreed upon between the two sides,” Battal said.

Egyptian-Iraqi relations have developed significantly in recent months, culminating in 15 new agreements signed during Madbouly’s visit to Baghdad last month.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi ordered the rapid implementation of joint projects with Iraq and gave his support for security and stability in the cooperation.

During his meeting with Iraq’s deputy prime minister and minister of planning, El-Sisi stressed the fundamentals of the Egyptian policy in support of Iraq. He said Egypt will help Iraq boost its “Arab national role” and overcome challenges.

A large group of Egyptian factories recently laid out an ambitious plan to benefit from the oil-for-reconstruction agreement.

Last week saw meetings with Iraqi delegations to examine business opportunities for the factories.

Samir Aref, head of the Tenth of Ramadan Investors Association, said that factories have a “great desire” to take advantage of the Iraqi market, which will play a major role in increasing sales.

Aref added that more meetings will take place between Egypt and Iraq in the coming period to learn how to activate and benefit from trade opportunities.

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