Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim is set to arrive in Iraq on Thursday for a visit that holds “significant political and economic dimensions,” according to Iraqi government spokesman Bassim Al Awadi. In an interview with state television on Wednesday, Al Awadi described the visit as a positive and effective gesture that will propel Iraqi-Qatari relations forward.
The primary focus of the visit is to strengthen cooperation between Iraq and Qatar in various sectors, including investment, energy, petrochemical industries, and maritime transport. Al Awadi emphasized that both countries are keen on enhancing collaboration in these areas. Additionally, discussions will revolve around major strategic projects such as the recently launched Development Road project and the Al Faw Grand Port, as well as energy and fuel initiatives.
Last month, Qatar was invited to a conference in Baghdad to launch an ambitious transport project aimed at connecting Asia and Europe, promoting regional cooperation, and expanding economic opportunities. The $17 billion Development Road initiative, which involves other Gulf states, Iran, Turkey, Syria, and Jordan, will be a key topic of discussion between Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia Al Sudani and Sheikh Tamim during the visit.
The Development Road project is an extensive infrastructure endeavor that will link southern Iraq to the Turkish border, creating connections with rail and road networks in Europe. Its implementation is expected to foster trade and facilitate the movement of goods across continents.
The visit of Sheikh Tamim to Iraq signifies the improved relations between Iraq and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries in recent years. Following the 1990 invasion of Kuwait by Saddam Hussein’s forces, relations were severed. However, after the 2003 US-led invasion that led to the overthrow of Saddam’s regime, there has been a gradual improvement in relations, with GCC governments reopening their embassies and engaging in bilateral visits.
At the Qatar Economic Forum held last month, Iraqi Oil Minister Hayan Abdel Ghani announced that Qatari companies were keen on participating in oil and gas exploration rights in Iraq. Discussions between Abdel Ghani and his Qatari counterpart focused on various projects, including the upcoming bidding round for 13 sites, eight of which are oil and gas fields and five are exploration sites.
QatarEnergy has already taken significant steps to strengthen its presence in Iraq’s energy sector by acquiring a 25% stake in the Gas Growth Integrated Project. This project aims to harness Iraq’s natural gas resources and involves collaboration with Basra Oil Company and TotalEnergies.
The visit of Sheikh Tamim to Iraq signifies a deeper commitment to strengthening bilateral ties and exploring new avenues of cooperation between Qatar and Iraq. The outcomes of this visit are expected to further enhance economic and strategic partnerships between the two nations, contributing to regional stability and prosperity.