UK Ambassador to Iraq: Iraq can be a positive bridging force in the region

UK Ambassador to Iraq: Iraq can be a positive bridging force in the region

Shafaq News/ On Thursday, the British Ambassador to Iraq, Mark Bryson-Richardson, expressed the United Kingdom’s support for finding a solution to the outstanding issues between Baghdad and Erbil.

Speaking at the Middle East Peace and Security (MEPS) Forum held at the American University of Kurdistan (AUK) in Duhok, the British Ambassador listed the issues to work on with Iraq and the region.

“We will work with the region to tackle global challenges, such as climate change, crime, and terrorism ... We want to invest and collaborate in fields of science and technology and will champion the free flow of trade, capital, and knowledge to drive economic growth.”

“We are ready to support Iraq in efforts to build those regional projects, sharing UK expertise ... we are keen to deepen our already historically strong links with Iraq and the region.” He added.

The UK official considered Kurdistan Regional Government “a critical part of the solution to the security problems.

“There is an opportunity now to work together with the Government in Baghdad to secure Iraq’s borders and enhance security cooperation between the Iraqi Security Forces and the Peshmerga.”

“I strongly condemn Iran’s renewed attacks on the KRI, which are a violation of Iraqi sovereignty. Attacks on and threats against the KRI escalate tensions in the region and must stop.”

Concerning Iraq’s relations with neighboring countries, he said, “we want to see Iraq and its neighbors build mutually beneficial and mutually respectful relations – enhancing energy, trade and transport connections and co-ordinating on the use of shared natural resources – especially water.”

“We would welcome the revival of critical negotiations over water supply with neighbors, which are desperately needed to support local communities and tackle one of the longer term drivers of instability – climate change.”

Bryson-Richardson pointed out that with a stable Government, Iraq can “move towards strengthening cooperation in pursuit of projects that will bring greater economic and societal resilience in Iraq. For example, working with GCC states on energy grid connections.”

“Iraq can play an important role in fostering regional stability and lasting prosperity. Iraq has an opportunity to position itself as a positive bridging force in the region, as we saw at the Baghdad Conference and its facilitation of Saudi-Iran talks.” He added.

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