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Tuesday, December 22, 2015, 22:39

China, Iraq establish strategic partnership

By Xinhua

China, Iraq establish strategic partnership
Chinese President Xi Jinping (right)  shakes hands with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi before their meeting at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Dec 22, 2015. (AFP PHOTO / POOL / WANG ZHAO)

BEIJING - China and Iraq agreed Tuesday to establish a strategic partnership during the on-going visit by Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to China.

The two countries issued a joint statement to the effect in Beijing, saying that the strategic partnership will help deep bilateral cooperation in various field and promote development and prosperity in both countries.

While meeting with Abadi Tuesday afternoon, President Xi Jinping said relations between the two countries have kept a momentum of steady development in recent years.

Establishing strategic partnership will lay a solid foundation for future development of bilateral ties, Xi said, adding the two sides should take it as an opportunity to advance their relationship to a higher level.

"Iraq is a major country in the Middle East. The new government attaches high importance to relations with China and hopes to make a difference in national construction after taking office. A further development of bilateral ties and cooperation is not only useful for both countries, but also for the region's stability and development," said Wu Sike, formerly China's special envoy on Middle East affairs.

Abadi's official visit to China from Tuesday to Wednesday is his first since taking office last September.

Xi voiced support for Iraq's efforts to maintain national sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity. He said China firmly supports Iraq's measures to safeguard national security and stability, and will advance cooperation in this field.

China was ready to strengthen the integration of two countries' development strategies within the framework of the Belt and Road initiative, and assist Iraq's reconstruction in energy, electricity, communication and infrastructure, Xi said.

China will encourage and support its companies to participate in the construction of large projects that will have a major impact on Iraq's development and the wellbeing of its people, and conduct related investment and financing cooperation, Xi said.

China will also help Iraq train professionals imperative for its economic and social development, and provide opportunities for Iraqi youths, scholars, journalists and think tank experts to visit China, the president added.

Abadi said he hoped to promote bilateral cooperation in such areas as economy, energy, electricity, communication, infrastructure and security, as well as exchanges between the two peoples through his visit.

He welcomed Chinese companies to increase investment in Iraq and pledged to provide necessary protection.

The two countries also vowed to further strengthen parliamentary exchanges in a meeting between Abadi and China's top legislator Zhang Dejiang on Tuesday afternoon.

"Legislative exchange and cooperation is an important part of the China-Iraq relationship," said Zhang, chairman of the Standing Committee of China's National People's Congress (NPC).

He noted that the NPC stands ready to work with the Iraqi National Assembly.

Hailing Iraq-China friendship, Abadi said the Iraqi side looks forward to closer exchanges between the two parliaments.

Abadi was invited by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, who held talks with Abadi on Tuesday.

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