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17 Feb 2009 13:14
Germany plans to open on Tuesday an information office for German businesses operating in Iraq, with centres in Baghdad and the northern city of Erbil.
The one-stop-shop will offer information, advice and help establish contacts, in order to encourage business relationships between the two countries.
Economics Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg said the information office would “help revive the previously intensive economic relationships between Germany and Iraq”.
“The bureau will also help overcome the economic consequences of the war in Iraq and contribute to the economic reconstruction of the country,” Zu Guttenberg added.
The announcement coincides with a surprise visit to Iraq by German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier.
This is the first trip to Baghdad by a German foreign minister in 22 years, and marks a reawakening of ties between the two countries after German opposition to the United States-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.
Steinmeier is being accompanied by German business representatives.
Former economics minister Michael Glos had previously pressed for improved relations with Iraq, and visited Baghdad in July 2008.
Germany’s Economics Ministry is also organising further activities to encourage trade with Iraq, including an Iraq-workshop for German companies scheduled late February.
“Iraq has been expecting the German economy for a long time,” Zu Guttenberg said.—Sapa-dpa
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