By Daria Alexe
Over the last weeks, the Italian Ambassador in Iraq, Maurizio Greganti, met with Iraqi authorities, including the Ministers of Justice, Mr. Salar Abdulsattar, the Minister of Defense, Mr. Jumaa Enad Al Jibouri, and the Minister of Health, Mr. Hani Musa Badir al-Aqabi.
Ambassador Greganti met with the Minister of Justice, Mr. Salar Abdulsattar, on February 1st. The main objective of the meeting was to strengthen relations between Italy and Iraq in all sectors, with a particular focus on judicial cooperation.
Minister Abdulsattar expressed his sincere gratitude for Italy’s support in the fight against terrorism, which still represents a worrying domestic problem the Middle Eastern country. The meeting was also an opportunity to celebrate the deep friendship that bounds Italy and Iraq. In 2007, the two countries signed a friendship, cooperation, and partnership agreement.
On January 30th, Ambassador Greganti had met the Minister of Defense, Mr. Jumaa Enad Al Jibouri, to discuss the next steps of defense cooperation between the two countries. The meeting focused on the shared desire to create a strategic partnership on defense matters.
Italy has participated in several missions against terrorism in Iraq, supporting local security forces. Among these is the anti-Daesh Coalition that liberated Mosul from ISIS.
Italy is also part of the NATO mission in Iraq (NMI), active since 2018. Italy’s importance within the mission has grown over time, as its contingent within NMI became its largest contingent abroad. In the first months of 2022, Italy will assume command of the mission.
On January 30th, Ambassador Greganti also met with the Minister of Health, Mr. Hani Musa Badir al-Aqabi, and his deputy Mr. Tawfeeq Waleed, to discuss cooperation on health issues. Healthcare is of pivotal importance for Italian Development Cooperation projects in Iraq.
Italy has been working for years with Iraqi authorities to strengthen the local healthcare system and its ability to provide specialized services in line with international standards. The goal is to address growing regional demand, aggravated by the Covid-19 pandemic. Recently, Italy invested $22 million to improve the oncological diagnostics capability and surgical services of Baghdad Children Hospital.
Iraq has always welcomed the support provided by Italian universities and research centers on health matters. During the meeting, minister al-Aqabi expressed his gratitude for Italy’s support during the Covid-19 pandemic. Italy sent medical material and donated vaccine doses to Iraq.
Ambassador Greganti will hold another round of meetings next week. The Ambassador will meet with the Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Water Resources and the Secretary-General of the Council of Ministers, Mr. Hamid Naim Al-Ghizi.