Paris, Feb 26 (IANS) French President Emmanuel Macron said he would visit Iraq in the coming months, reiterating France’s support for the reconstruction and eventual sustainable development of the OPEC member state after the defeat of the Islamic State (IS).
“The old friendship (between France and Iraq) has served as a barrier against terrorism; we must now nourish it with concrete projects to build long-lasting peace together,” Macron said.
“That will be my message when I visit Iraq in a few months,” he added.
During a joint press conference with his visiting Iraqi counterpart Barham Salih, the French president warned that “the threats remain considerable” ahead of Iraq, where Islamist fighters had seized the third of country’s territory before being ousted by a US-led international military coalition.
In this context, Macron stressed that “France will remain alongside the Iraqis politically and militarily,” and pledged “to develop cooperation in all fields”.
Macron also announced that France would provide one billion euros (1.134 billion US dollars) in reconstruction funds for Iraq’s transport, health, water and energy sectors.
France was one of the first European countries to join the international coalition against the IS. Its fighter jets bombed the group in Iraq in 2014 at the request of Iraqi authorities.