Iraqi Defence Minister Abd Al-Qader Al-Obeidi recently visited the Egyptian capital where he met with Egyptian President Mohammed Hosni Mubarak, Foreign Minister Ahmed Abu Al-Gheit and the defence and military production minister, Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi.
Al-Obeidi, who arrived in Egypt in early June and stayed for several days, sought to advance Iraq’s efforts to develop relations with Arab and regional states in preparation for the departure of U.S. troops from the country.
He confirmed that his visit addressed the security situation and recent security developments in Iraq. He briefed Egyptian officials on Iraq’s preparations to take control of its own security in place of the multi-national force, which has begun its withdrawal from Iraq. Following the discussions, Al-Obeidi said his talks with them also sought Egyptian military support in the areas of training, logistics and arms procurement. At the same time, Al-Obeidi divulged that a number of Egyptian military delegations had visited Iraq to inquire about Iraqi army requirements.
In discussions on Egypt’s diplomatic representation in Iraq, Al-Obeidi emphasised that the security situation is now favourable for the reopening of the Egyptian embassy in Baghdad. He noted that it is no longer a difficult matter to provide the embassy with protection because the security of diplomatic missions in the country is guaranteed by the Iraqi defence and interior ministries. He added that Iraq has opened its doors to Egyptians with no complications to prevent their entry into the country.
The foreign ministers of the two countries will soon sign a strategic cooperation agreement, Al-Obeidi said, but he refrained from making any reference to its contents.
Egyptian Foreign Affairs Minister Al-Gheit earlier confirmed that Egypt would welcome Iraq’s return to prominence in the Arab and regional arenas, and that Egypt had taken note of the recent positive developments in its security situation. He also cited historical factors in the bilateral relationship that brought together the peoples of Egypt and Iraq in the past and will do so again.
Source: Agencies / Al-Shorfa correspondent