Iran and Iraq commit to boosting border cooperation and trade

In this photo released by the official website of the office of the Iranian Presidency, President Hassan Rouhani, right, meets Iraqi Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein, left, in Tehran, Iran, Saturday, Sept. 26, 2020. (AP)
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Updated 26 September 2020

Iran and Iraq commit to boosting border cooperation and trade

  • Iran is one of Iraq’s biggest trading partners and both countries’ economies are in crisis
  • The pandemic has led to border closures and disruptions to trade and visits by millions of pilgrims and tourists

DUBAI: Iran and Iraq on Saturday pledged to improve border cooperation and boost trade between the two neighbours that has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.
"We remain committed to increasing political, economic and cultural cooperation between the two countries," President Hassan Rouhani told visiting Iraqi Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein, according to a government website.
Hussein called for implementing bilateral accords in areas including border cooperation, transportation and trade between the two countries, the website said.
The pandemic has led to border closures and disruptions to trade and visits by millions of pilgrims and tourists.
Iran, which shares a long border with Iraq, has been the epicentre of the virus in the Middle East but the spread has also accelerated in Iraq.
Iran is one of Iraq’s biggest trading partners. Both countries’ economies are in crisis. Iran continues to suffer from US sanctions and Iraq’s economy has been battered by years of wars, sanctions and an extremist insurgency.
Tehran also used to meeting to denounce the US military presence in the region.
"We consider the presence of American forces in the region, whether in Iraq, Afghanistan or the southern states of the Persian Gulf, to the detriment of security and stability in the region," Rouhani said.


Saad Hariri named new Lebanon PM, promises reform cabinet

Updated 22 October 2020

Saad Hariri named new Lebanon PM, promises reform cabinet

  • Hariri immediately promised a government of technocrats committed to a French-backed reform plan
  • He has previously led three governments in Lebanon

BEIRUT: Three-time Lebanese prime minister Saad Hariri was named to the post for a fourth time Thursday and immediately promised a government of technocrats committed to a French-backed reform plan.
Hariri said he would “form a cabinet of non politically aligned experts with the mission of economic, financial and administrative reforms contained in the French initiative roadmap.”
“I will work on forming a government quickly because time is running out and this is the only and last chance facing our country,” he added.
President Michel Aoun named Hariri to form a new cabinet to lift the country out of crisis after most parliamentary blocs backed his nomination.
Hariri, who has previously led three governments in Lebanon, stepped down almost a year ago under pressure from unprecedented protests against the political class.
“The president summoned... Saad Al-Deen Al-Hariri to task him with forming a government,” a spokesman for the presidency said.
Hariri was backed by a majority of 65 lawmakers, while 53 abstained.
Lebanon is grappling with its worst economic crisis in decades and still reeling from a devastating port blast that killed more than 200 people and ravaged large parts of Beirut in August.
Aoun warned Wednesday that the new prime minister, the third in a year, would have to spearhead reforms and battle corruption.
A relatively unknown diplomat, Mustapha Adib, had been nominated in late August following the resignation of his predecessor Hassan Diab’s government in the aftermath of the deadly port blast.
Adib had vowed to form a cabinet of experts, in line with conditions set by French President Emmanuel Macron to help rescue the corruption-ridden country from its worst ever economic crisis.
He faced resistance from some of the main parties however and threw in the towel nearly a month later, leaving Lebanon rudderless to face soaring poverty and the aftermath of its worst peacetime disaster.