Foreign Minister Meets with his Iraqi Counterpart

1. Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se held a meeting and a working dinner with Foreign Minister Ibrahim Al-Jaafari of Iraq on January 17, during which the two top diplomats discussed matters of mutual concern, including ways to increase humanitarian assistance to Iraq as well as economic and development cooperation; ways to better protect their nationals overseas; and the situations on the Korean Peninsula and in the Middle East.

2. Minister Yun, commending the Iraqi government for its efforts for stabilization and reconstruction, informed the Iraqi side of the Republic of Korea government's plan to continue providing humanitarian assistance to Iraq and to undertake development cooperation mainly in the sectors of education, healthcare and public administration.

Minister Al-Jaafari, extending appreciation to the ROK government for its humanitarian aid to Iraq, expressed hope for close cooperation with the ROK in the reconstruction of Iraq.

3. Minister Yun, voicing hope for closer economic ties between the ROK and Iraq, asked for Minister Al-Jaafari's keen attention to bids of Korean companies to take part in reconstruction and other major, state-run projects of Iraq as well as to the safety of the ROK nationals and enterprises in the country.

Minister Al-Jaafari responded that the safety of the ROK nationals and companies in Iraq is as important as the safety of Iraq, adding that he will pay serious attention to it.

4. Minister Yun highlighted the need to embark as soon as possible on working-level negotiations to build such legal frames for economic cooperation as agreements on the protection of investment and on the avoidance of double taxation. In addition, he voiced hope for an early conclusion of a framework agreement on grant aid for a stable implementation of grant-aid projects between the two countries.

Meanwhile, Minister Al-Jaafari raised the need for a visa waiver agreement for holders of diplomatic and official passports.

5. Minister Yun, bringing attention to the fast-growing nuclear capability of North Korea, extended appreciation to Iraq for issuing its first statement of condemnation in response to the North's fifth nuclear test and commended the Iraqi government for its efforts to implement UN Security Council Resolutions 2270 and 2321 on the North Korean nuclear program.

Minister Al-Jaafari mention that Iraq fully shares the threats posed to the ROK by North Korea's development of weapons of mass destruction, speaking of the efforts to reclaim Mosul and other relevant developments in Iraq.

6. On the heels of their meeting, the two top diplomats signed a memorandum of understanding on cooperation between diplomatic academies of their two countries.

7. The ROK-Iraq foreign ministerial meeting is seen to have served as a significant opportunity to discuss in depth ways to step up economic cooperation between the two countries with mutually complementary economic structures as well as situations in diverse regions of the world and other matters of mutual concern, and thereby to promote bilateral ties.

Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs Republic of Korea

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