President Fuad Masum starts official visit to Kuwait

President Fuad Masum

Baghdad ( President Fuad Masum started on Monday morning an official visit to Kuwait.

Masum was received by Kuwaiti Emir Sabah al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah upon arrival in Kuwait.

He is set to hold talks with Kuwaiti officials on means of boosting bilateral relations in all fields and preparations for the Kuwait-hosted donor conference for the reconstruction of Iraq’s liberated areas, scheduled to be held in February.

Speaking to Kuwait’s al-Watan daily on Sunday, Masum extended thanks to the Kuwaiti government for its keenness to organize this conference, which, he considered, is of great importance to Iraq.

“We cannot expect the volume of funds to be provided for Iraq by the donor countries, but we are optimistic about the surrounding atmosphere,” he said, calling on Kuwaiti companies to pump investments into the Iraqi market and take part in the reconstruction process of Iraq during the coming period.

The Iraqi government will give priority to Kuwait investors, he pointed out, stressing that the investment climate in Iraq is now perfect following recent victories over Islamic State terrorists.

Speaking about the compensations issue, Masum said his country is facing an economic crisis due to the high military expenses of the fight against IS militants since 2014.

Furthermore, he expressed Iraq’s commitment to the payment of compensations; however, Masum hoped the Kuwaiti side would postpone the procedure to a year.

The visit comes at an invitation from Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah.

It is the first time for an Iraqi president to pay a visit to Kuwait since 2008.

In September, Kuwait announced that arrangements were underway for an international donor conference to rebuild Iraqi areas liberated from the Islamic State, and urged Baghdad to provide suitable investment and economic environment for reconstruction.

Kuwait is waiting for a study that will pinpoint the exact damage and needs “in order to make it easy for the donor countries to specify the size and form of their contributions,” Kuwait’s First Deputy Premier and Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah al-Khaled al-Hamad al-Sabah said.

Sheikh Sabah al-Khaled said Kuwait has always been supporting Iraq in its fight against terrorism with the objective of restoring security and stability nationwide.

Iraq, he added, should also provide incentives to encourage foreign companies invest in the country, besides carrying out economic and administrative reforms.

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