WASHINGTON-Iraqi government spokesman Ali Al-Dabbagh revealed his country’s intention to submit a proposal for a regional economic partnership that would embrace Iraq’s immediate neighbours initially and the member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council at a later date. Iraq borders six countries: Turkey, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Kuwait and Jordan.
Speaking during a visit to the U.S. capital, Dabbagh said that he was making the first formal announcement of the outline of the plan. It includes building roads to link the countries of the East Mediterranean with the Gulf States and improving infrastructure for the transfer of oil and gas among the countries of the region. It will also promote joint investments and trade relations and cooperation in countering violent extremist organisations. Dabbagh said the plan also proposes a strategy for the division and allocation of regional water sources.
Dabbagh said the proposal is aimed at fostering greater trust in Iraq’s Shi’a majority amongst the Sunni majorities in bordering nations by demonstrating that cooperation is the best way to advance their shared interests. He added that Iraq is prepared to play an exploratory role in the proposed partnership plan, having shed its aggressive past and redirected its endeavours towards the creation of a democratic government that respect the rights of all.
He hoped that, as U.S. forces withdraw under the terms of the recently concluded Iraq-U.S. security agreement, Iraq’s neighbours would begin to envision a new era in which national reconciliation would begin inside Iraq.