2nd Phase of Strategic Agreement with US began, Iraq heading for gigantic projects, PM says
12/15/2011 1:53 PM

BAGHDAD / Aswat al-Iraq: Iraq's Prime Minister, Nouri al-Maliki, has said on Wednesday that Iraq is looking forward for strengthening relations with the United States of America, through the Strategic Agreement concluded between both countries, confirming that along with the end of the 1st phase of the Agreement by the withdrawal of the US forces, the 2nd phase of the civilian nature, begins, covering all cultural and economic fields, "because, we in Iraq, are heading toward the implementation of gigantic projects, such as the Faw Port, the railways network
and airports, thing that necessitates the return of Iraqi potential elements to their homeland."

"The Iraqis in the United States must represent us in strengthening relations with the US, because the forthcoming phase shall be different than the previous one, due to fact that the relations in the past had been of military and security nature, but today, after the close completion of the withdrawal of the American forces from Iraq, despite certain suspicions spread out by some elements, we find out that the 2nd phase
of the Strategic Agreement would be implemented soon, after the end of the withdrawal by the end of the current month," the Prime Minister's office quoted Maliki as saying during his reception of a group of Iraqis, residing in the United States.

"The motive of my visit for Washington is to confirm that the relations with the American side won't end by the withdrawal of the US forces, and that the 2nd phase shall be of a civilian nature, covering all cultural, economic and trade fields," he said.

Maliki said that his government also tries to "make use of expertise of developed states, such as Japan, China, Korea and the United States, in the reconstruction and service fields, including the projects that would be implemented during the next Federal budget, especially transportation
projects, being gigantic strategic projects, such as the Faw Port, the railways networks, airports, etc."
"Funds have been allocated in 2012 budget to build the 'Waves Broker' project and other parts of the said Port, either on Iraq's expense or through investment," he said, adding that "the need now is not only building the Port, but the construction of a gigantic railways network, because we want Iraq to become a trade passage for communication with other states."

Maliki concluded, saying that "huge projects exist to be built soon in the fields of oil, electricity and reconstruction, as well as building airports and other important infrastructure projects," charging the previous Iraqi regime with having left Iraq completely destroyed, and promising that his government's plan is centered on the reconstruction of all what was destroyed in the past."