Pakistan Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and his Iraqi counterpart, Dr. Fuad Hussain, break ground on new Pakistan Embassy complex in Iraq on June 6, 2023. Image Credit: Pakistan Foreign Office

Islamabad: Pakistani Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari laid the foundation stone for Pakistan’s new embassy building in Iraq as a significant step in strengthening diplomatic ties and expanding cooperation.

During his three-day visit (June 5-7), Bilawal Bhutto held meetings with top Iraqi government officials and members of the business community to discuss collaboration and mutual investment in various sectors.

The foreign minister’s visit to Baghdad began with meetings with Iraqi President Abdul Latif Rashid, Prime Minister Mohammad Shia Al Sudani, and Foreign Minister Dr. Fuad Hussain.

These meetings aimed to strengthen the diplomatic ties between Pakistan and Iraq. The two sides “resolved to take Pakistan and Iraq relations to new heights and expand cooperation in diverse areas, including sharing expertise on water, agriculture, and reinforcing defense cooperation and bilateral trade,” Bilawal said in Baghdad. Both sides expressed their desire to take their bilateral relations to new heights and explore the untapped potential for bilateral cooperation.

Bilawal said that he and the Iraqi prime minister discussed a wide range of issues, including “enhancing bilateral trade, convening of joint ministerial commission, rebuilding Iraqi infrastructure, connectivity,” and facilitating pilgrims and enhancing people-to-people and business contacts. Pakistan’s Foreign Office said that two agreements related to enhancing cultural cooperation and visa abolition on diplomatic and official passports were signed during the visit.

Economic collaboration

In addition to political engagements, Foreign Minister Bilawal met with representatives of the Pakistan-Iraq Business Council in Baghdad. The discussions focused on collaboration and mutual investment in priority sectors, including information technology, food security, energy, construction, and medicine. An agreement was signed between the Federation of Pakistan Chamber of Commerce (FPCCI) and its Iraqi counterpart to solidify these economic ties. During the meetings, FM Bilawal discussed strengthening people-to-people contacts between the two countries, enhancing historical, religious, and cultural linkages.

The foreign minister’s trip to Iraq came after his visit to Jordan where he attended the wedding of the Crown Prince at the invitation of the Jordanian royal family.