U.S.-Iraq Economic Commission meets Tues.

Thi-Qar-Seven ARBIL / The U.S.-Iraq Joint Economic Commission (JEC) will meet on Tuesday in Arbil province with U.S. officials on bilateral relations, according to a commission member.   “The committee on economic and trade activities, which includes the chairman of the Chambers of Commerce in Iraq, the chairmen of the Chambers of Commerce in Arbil, Sulaimaniya and Duhuk, and representatives of the ministries of trade and finance, will meet with U.S. officials to discuss relations between U.S. and Iraqi companies,” Hassan Baqi Horami told The meeting will be the first by the commission in Iraq’s Kurdistan region. Established in 2007, the U.S.-Iraqi commission aims at boosting trade relations between U.S. and Iraqi firms. Arbil, also written Erbil or Irbil, is believed to be one of the oldest continuously inhabited in the world and is one of the largest cities in Iraq. The city lies eighty kilometers (fifty miles) east of Mosul. In 2005, its estimated population was 990,000 inhabitants. The city is the capital of the autonomous Iraqi Kurdistan region and the Kurdistan Regional Government Kurdistan RegionG). It hosts the headquarters of the Kurdistan region ministers and parliament. Since the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, only isolated, sporadic violence has hit Arbil, unlike many other areas of Iraq. Parallel bomb attacks against the Eid celebrations arranged by the Iraqi President Jalal Talabani’s Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) and Kurdistan RegionG President Massoud Barazani’s Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) killed 109 people on February 1, 2004. Responsibility was claimed by the Islamist group Ansar al-Sunnah, and stated to be in solidarity with the Kurdish Islamist faction Ansar al-Islam. Another bombing on May 4, 2005 killed 60 civilians. Despite these bombings the population generally feels safe.   SS (S)/SR 1

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