Cyprus Mail

Cyprus eyes role in reconstruction of Iraq

The Iraqi foreign minister at the trilateral in Jordan on Sunday

The presence of the Iraqi foreign minister in the recent trilateral in Jordan could pave the way for Cyprus’ participation in the post-conflict reconstruction in Iraq.

At this stage though Iraq’s apparent inclusion in the trilaterals/quadrilaterals is not easy to read, geopolitical analyst Zenonas Tziarras told the Cyprus Mail.

What can be safely stated at this time, he added, is that Cyprus is utilising its ties with Jordan in order to gain access to lucrative construction contracts in Iraq.

Jordan is already involved in the reconstruction process there.

On a more speculative basis, the analyst suggested that Iran, which has gained significant inroads into the Iraqi government, may be seeking a “backdoor” into the matrix of trilaterals among Cyprus, Greece, Israel, Jordan and Egypt.

It is possible that Iran, through its access to the Iraqi government, is keen on observing developments within the trilaterals network, said Tziarras.

Given the recent participation of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in the Cyprus-Greece-Israel trilateral in Jerusalem, Tehran may want to “keep an eye” on US attempts at re-establishing influence in Iraqi politics.

On Sunday the foreign ministers of Cyprus, Greece, Jordan and Iraq met in Amman to discuss issues concerning financial, trade and tourism cooperation.

Among the issues discussed was how Cyprus and Greece, as members of the EU, could help the reconstruction of Iraq.

In the meantime an Honorary Consul of Cyprus has been appointed to Iraq, while efforts are underway for Cypriot construction companies to participate in Iraq’s reconstruction.

The Cyprus News Agency reported that direct scheduled flights connecting the two countries would begin in about 15 days.

According to the declaration issued after the trilateral summit among Cyprus, Greece and Jordan, the foreign ministers of the three nations decided to meet again with the Iraqi foreign minister in Baghdad in the near future.

Press reports said that on that occasion a business forum would be organised in the Iraqi capital with the participation of all sides.

There has been conjecture as to whether Iraq will be included in either the trilateral cooperation of Cyprus, Greece and Jordan, or in the three-way synergy of Cyprus, Greece and Egypt.

Alternatively, a five-way cooperation scheme could be established among Cyprus, Greece, Jordan, Egypt and Iraq.

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