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Iraq, Iran Discuss Environmental Issues

Iraq, Iran Discuss Environmental Issues

Monday, 30 May, 2022 - 06:15
Iraqi Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein during a press conference with Iranian Vice President and Head of the Environmental Protection Organization Ali Salajegheh (AP)

Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Kadhimi affirmed that strengthening the partnership with regional countries will boost regional integration and enhance the ability to confront common environmental challenges.

Kadhimi received the Iranian Vice President and Head of the Environmental Protection Organization, Ali Salajegheh, visiting Baghdad.

The PM said that the historical relations between Iraq and Iran are supported by the mutual desire to develop cooperation in various fields, noting that it is everyone's responsibility to create practical solutions to environmental challenges and reverse the effect of climate change.

Salajegheh expressed his country's desire to resolve the outstanding issues between the two countries in the environmental field, reiterating the need to strengthen bilateral cooperation in this field.

He said that solving drought problems and confronting the threat of dust storms has become a common regional demand and requires all efforts to develop effective solutions.

According to a statement by the Iraqi government, the two officials discussed strengthening bilateral cooperation with other regional countries to face environmental challenges in a way that guarantees the common rights and interests of all countries fairly.

Iraqi Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein also met with Salajegheh and his delegation on Sunday.

Speaking at a press conference after the meeting, Hussein announced that Iraq and Iran had agreed to hold continuous meetings to discuss climate changes, desertification, and dust storms.

The Iranian Minister of Environment will soon visit Iraq to discuss common environmental issues.

Climate change is not specific to a particular country but instead crosses borders, said Hussein, noting that the meeting also addressed issues of managing water resources between Iraq and Iran.

The Iraqi minister announced that there would be exchanged visits and meetings to discuss the issues of water and common rivers.

For his part, Salajegheh said the meeting was a good start for cooperation on the dust storms, underlying the urgency of responding to drought.

He announced that the two countries would cooperate in sand dunes stabilization, adding that the Iranian Minister of Energy would visit Iraq soon.

The Iraqi Ministry of Water Resources accuses Iran of deliberately diverting the course of more than 30 rivers inside its territory, which stops their flow within Iraqi territory, drying up most of the rivers and lakes in the east and north of the country.

Political science professor Ihsan al-Shammari believes Iran is probably trying to contain the widespread Iraqi resentment following the water problem and Tehran's intentional moves.

He told Asharq Al-Awsat that the visit may be limited to the environmental aspects and the water problem and will not address political issues and the delay in forming the government because senior Iranian officials handle such matters.

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