Iraq PM-designate to present new cabinet for approval next week — statement

Abdul Mahdi was named as PM by Iraq’s new President Barham Salih last month. (Reuters)
Updated 17 October 2018
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Iraq PM-designate to present new cabinet for approval next week — statement

  • Abdul Mahdi was named as PM by Iraq’s new President Barham Salih last month

BAGHDAD: Iraq’s prime minister-designate Adel Abdul Mahdi said on Wednesday he would present a new cabinet to parliament for approval next week.
Abdul Mahdi was named by Iraq’s new President Barham Salih last month, and has until the beginning of November to form a government. The election of Salih, a Kurd, and his nomination of Abdul Mahdi, a Shiite, has broken months of political deadlock in Iraq after an inconclusive May election.
“The prime minister-designate... is carrying out the necessary communications with the head of parliament and the blocs to set a day” to present the cabinet, his office said in a statement on Facebook and Twitter.
Since a US invasion toppled Saddam Hussein in 2003, the Iraqi presidency has been traditionally held by a Kurd, the premiership by a Shiite Arab and the parliamentary speaker has been a Sunni Arab.
Abdul Mahdi, a former vice president, oil minister and finance minister, faces the tasks of rebuilding much of the country after war with Daesh militants, healing ethnic and sectarian tensions, and balancing foreign relations with Iraq’s two major allies — Iran and its arch-foe the United States.


Iraq’s president to visit Saudi Arabia as part of regional tour

Updated 22 min 55 sec ago
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Iraq’s president to visit Saudi Arabia as part of regional tour

  • Salih visited the UAE on Monday and Kuwait on Sunday
  • The Iraqi president visited Jordan on Thursday where he met King Abdullah II of Jordan

JEDDAH: Iraq’s President Barham Salih will visit Saudi Arabia as part of a regional tour that will also include a visit to Iran on Saturday.
The Iraqi president visited Jordan on Thursday where he met King Abdullah II of Jordan. The two leaders discussed projects in the fields of energy, the extension of an oil pipeline between the two countries, and supplying electricity to Iraq.
“The governments of Iraq and Jordan will promote economic cooperation: the joint industrial city, energy cooperation, the oil pipeline from Basra to Aqaba,” Salih tweeted.
Salih also visited the UAE on Monday and Kuwait on Sunday.
On Saturday the Kurdish president will meet Hassan Rouhani in Tehran and a number of Iranian leaders and officials to discuss bilateral relations, ways to increase cooperation, and developments in the region, the Iraq state news agency said.
The veteran politician was elected last month as Iraq attempted to form a government after months of deadlock since elections in May.
His meetings in Iran will be dominated by a number of pressing political, economic and security issues.
The election left Iraq’s main political forces divided into pro and anti Iran factions. Many in Iraq have become critical of Iran’s heavy-handed influence in the country and its funding of powerful armed factions.
Because of its economic ties with Iran, Iraq has also been put in a difficult position by fresh US sanctions against Tehran.
Last week, the US said Iraq could continue to import natural gas and energy supplies from Iran for a period of 45 days, after reimposing sanctions on Tehran’s oil sector.
Iraq’s central bank said in August that Baghdad would ask Washington for exemptions from some of the sanctions.