On the initiative of the French president, the bilateral relationship between France and Iraq was revived in all areas from 2008 onwards.
The revival of relations can be seen in the numerous visits over the past two years, including several at high level: two visits by the minister for foreign and european Affairs in August 2007 and June 2008; a visit by the President of the Republic on 10 February 2009; and a visit to Baghdad by the prime minister, François Fillon, on 2 July 2009.
Visits to France by Iraqi officials have equally helped revive our relations. The vice-president, Adel Abd al Mahdi, visited France on 15 April 2009, and the prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, on 4 May 2009. President Talabani made a state visit to France from 16 to 19 November 2009, during which several important agreements were signed on cultural, scientific and technical cooperation, defence cooperation; as well as an agreement with Coface; a memorandum of understanding with the French development agency; and an agreement on investment protection was initialled.
Our embassy has expanded, with the opening of an economic mission staffed by three expatriate officers since autumn 2010; the appointment of a cultural and cooperation advisor, who has been assisted by a deputy since September 2010; and the arrival of a defence attaché in 2009 and an internal security attaché in 2010. A French Business Centre in Baghdad and a House of Agriculture and the Environment in Arbil also opened in 2010.
The image of our country in the eyes of the Iraqi government, fairly negative after 2003 due to our opposition to the coalition’s military intervention, which was wrongly perceived as support for the former regime, has evolved considerably since 2007. The change in attitude can be attributed to our role on the Security Council, a better understanding of our positions, and the history of French cooperation and the contribution of French companies in Iraq in the 1970s and 1980s. Our concern to maintain an even balance between the different communities is also recognised.
Updated on : 09.02.11
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