Tuesday, September 10, 2013 - 03:45
Minister Timmermans In Iraq
The Netherlands and Iraq are going to cooperate more closely in the economic field, according to Minister of Foreign Affairs Frans Timmermans, who met with with Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and Deputy Prime Minister for Energy, Hussein al-Sharistani in Baghdad on Monday. Timmermans says Baghdad will try to take away the bureaucratic barriers for doing business in Iraq. The PvdA Minister asked his discussion partners to ensure that investments will be protected. Both countries will also endeavor to prevent double taxation. Timmermans added, "Iraq offers opportunities for Dutch entrepreneurs and investors not only for large Dutch companies, such as Shell and Van Oord, but also for small and medium sized enterprises. Iraq is busy rebuilding, including the energy sector, infrastructure, water and health. All these sectors are where the Dutch companies have much to offer." The Minister expressed his concern about the increasing violence between Sunnis and Shiites in Iraq. In the morning he spoke with human rights organizations for women and minorities, including sexual minorities. With his Iraqi counterpart, Hoshyar Zebari, Timmermans had discussions with them, including about the crisis in Syria and Iran's nuclear plans. Later on Monday, Timmermans visited the autonomous Kurdish region of Iraq. In Erbil he spoke with the President and Prime Minister of the Kurdish region. Timmermans' visit to Iraq is part of a trip this week to the Middle East. The trip started in Kuwait on Sunday,where he talked with the Deputy Prime Minister and his Kuwaiti counterpart on the situation in Syria and Egypt. On Tuesday he travels on to Qatar. On Wednesday he will be in Dubai, where he will participate in a conference on combating piracy and speak with Dutch companies about doing business in Dubai.