Jordan opens consulate in Erbil

Dr. Barham Saleh, prime minister of the Kurdish region, shakes hands with Jordanian Prime Minister Maruf al-Bakhit upon his arrival in Erbil on September 11th. [Azad Lashkari / Reuters]

Dr. Barham Saleh, prime minister of the Kurdish region, shakes hands with Jordanian Prime Minister Maruf al-Bakhit upon his arrival in Erbil on September 11th. [Azad Lashkari / Reuters]

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Jordanian Prime Minister Maruf al-Bakhit visited Iraq last week for the opening of a Jordanian consulate in Erbil that officials hope will help boost economic ties between the two countries.

Dr. Barham Saleh, prime minister of the Kurdish region, attended the event as did a Jordanian ministerial delegation.

Speaking to journalists on September 12th, al-Bakhit said the consulate will be staffed with advisors on trade and health issues. Other personnel will be provided according to regional needs.

The two sides discussed ways to increase cooperation and exchange expertise in several areas including water resources management, energy, work and training, university education, medicine, pharmaceutical supplies, software, e-government and media.

Majed al-Saadi, an Iraqi businessman and president of the Iraqi-Jordanian Business Council, said, "Reconstruction and building activities are occurring in all parts of Iraq. The consulate in Erbil is important for obtaining visas, facilitating the movement of businessmen between the two countries, and overseeing Jordanian interests there."

He said several factors serve business between the two countries, including geographical proximity and the ease of movement and investment between traders and businessmen. Al-Saadi said flights connect Amman to Baghdad, Basra, and Erbil.

He said he hopes officials will open another Jordanian consulate in Basra to strengthen cooperation between Iraq and Jordan, which he said has grown considerably.

Khalid Rababha, a Jordanian economist, stressed the importance of Iraqi investments in Jordan. He said Iraqis are among the leading investors in Jordan as they are involved in several sectors such as real estate and finance.

"Consulates usually play a role in strengthening trade relations," he said. "Amman is considered a leading medical center in the Middle East and has several advanced educational institutions that Iraq can benefit from."

According to the Jordanian Ministry of Planning, the volume of trade between Jordan and Iraq rose by 29 percent during the first half of 2011 to a record 412 million dinars ($577 million) compared with 320 million dinars ($448.3 million) for the same period in 2010.

There are 3,234 Iraqis investors in the Jordanian stock market. Iraqi investors own 71 million securities that are valued at 255 million dinars ($357 million).

Jordanian industrialist Thabet el-Wor said the growth in trade between Jordan and Iraq has compensated for the decline in Jordanian exports to other countries.

"The strong relations between the two countries' traders and businessmen have pushed these figures upward," he said.

El-Wor said Iraq benefits from Jordan in terms of reconstruction and development projects and the facilitation of transit trade coming through the port of Aqaba. The Jordanian side benefits from being able to increase exports to Iraq.

Iraq and Jordan are members of the Greater Arab Free Trade Area.

The value of Jordan's imports from Iraq during the first half of 2011 was 75 million dinars ($100 million). Jordan is active in the re-export market to Iraq which amounted to $77 million dinars during the first half of the year.

Jordan and Iraq also agreed on September 11th in Amman to raise the quantities of crude oil Jordan imports from Iraq from 10,000 barrels per day to 15,000 barrels. Iraq also agreed to provide Jordan with about 30,000 tons of heavy fuel oil per month for electricity production.

Jordanian Energy Minister Khaled Touqan and his Iraqi counterpart, Abdul Karim al-Luaibi, announced the agreement following talks in Jordan.






    There is competition between Arab and foreign countries to have good relations with Iraq, because everyone knows the importance of Iraq and its future, which will be different, God willing, and because Iraq is one of the countries that could be most beneficial through opening the horizons and fields of economic cooperation with it. In addition to that, Iraq is one of the richest countries in the world, and it has many resources that God has blessed it with. Consequently, Iraq was ignored for a long time, because of the unnatural conditions, terrorism, al-Qaeda and bombings that it has been going through. However, we all know how the situation has radically changed, and we know that Iraqis were able to protect their country with the utmost might and determination, which consequently helped with having the Arab countries reconsider opening their embassies and representative units in Baghdad quickly, and then spread through the remaining parts of Iraq, in Basra and in other places. This also shows in the events taking place in Arbil right now, as many countries are opening consulates in Arbil governorate. This will serve both parties for sure, especially since Arbil is one of the most developed, modernized and advanced governorates, regarding reconstruction, commercial exchanges and touristic movement. It has all the qualities of success. Jordan is one of the Arab countries which are racing to improve their good relations with Iraq and to continue working on it. The Jordanian prime minister came and opened the consulate in Arbil himself, to enhance the role of commercial exchange with Arbil. He announced the extension of a railway to transport goods and also to increase the chances of cooperation between the two parties. Many European countries have also opened consulates there, because the conditions in Arbil are very stable, and many Arab countries will continue opening consulates there, to increase cooperation with Iraq in general.

  • صديق هادي


    Consulates play a significant role in promoting the trade and investment sector, and we hope that rest of the Arab countries will take the same positive step that was taken by Jordan, the UAE, Palestine and others. Opening Arab consulates means a lot to us, as it is evidence of the improvement of the security situation, and that Arabs started to realize the importance of Iraq, which has a lot of influence in the Arab world. I think that opening the consulate in Arbil will have many pros, not only for the region, but for the whole of Iraq, through the coordination that will promote cooperation between Iraq and Arab countries. The Kurdistan region is witnessing a lot of investments and taking many positive steps in the projects of construction and developing the northern provinces in a remarkable way, and this is proof that plans put in place by the officials of the region are among the successful plans that will contribute to serving the citizens, traders and investors. The plans will also contribute to reviving the Iraqi economy in general, and that is a sign of the return of Iraq to the entire Arab world, and that is what we had hoped for.

  • عزيز حمدي


    Opening Arab consulates in Erbil is one of the positive steps that will overshadow all of Iraq and the whole Kurdistan region. I believe that many Arab countries have started to intensify the efforts in order to extend bridges of cooperation with the region in different fields. Promoting this comes through opening Arab consulates that will develop the cooperation between the region and the different Arab countries; I especially think that the northern area of Iraq is one of the most stable areas in terms of security. Thus, investments can be started and promoted between the region and its government in Erbil and the Arab countries.

  • عبدالحكيم


    The situation has become obvious. In fact, the Arab countries have worked on destroying Iraq and on making it witness continuous problems and conflicts between the politicians, instead of working on supporting the country’s unity and sovereignty. This is a very dangerous issue. That’s why we must deal with it in a serious way, in order to reveal the plans of the Kurds in northern Iraq. These Kurds do not have the right to occupy the northern provinces of Iraq and to take advantage of its wealth. In fact, this wealth is not their property. It is the property of the country and its people. Thus, Iraqis must hold demonstrations in order to prevent the opening of the suspicious consulates in the region of Kurdistan.

  • so


    In fact, the matter is very dangerous. Opening a consulate representing an Arab state in Arbil governorate, which is one of the governorates of Iraq, even if it is located in the Kurdistan region, is not valid or appropriate on the part of the Arab brothers. Opening an embassy or a consulate for them in Arbil is a violation against the central authority in Iraq. At the same time, it represents the recognition or semi-recognition that Arbil is separated from Iraq, or is part of the so-called Kurdish state. I believe these consulates that are being opened in Arbil represent only a step that Kurds are calling for to have representatives from all states, and then have recognition of Kurdistan region as a separate state from Iraq, which no Iraqi can accept. Carrying out these despicable conspiracies only represents a conspiracy against Iraq’s unity and its security, and represents a violation against its sovereignty, because the goal behind opening these consulates is obvious. This goal isn’t for commercial exchange, importation or anything like that; this would have been normal. However, this is just an incitement for the instability in Iraq and for starting disagreements between Iraqis, particularly between the central government and the so-called government of the Kurdistan Region, which doesn’t work for the betterment of Iraq at all. Instead, it works only to serve the best interest of the so-called Kurdish state that they are trying to establish.

  • فايز حماده


    The reason behind the reluctance of the states to open consulates in Baghdad is the security and political instability and the large number of political parties which are not compatible with each other. This leads to these consulates being threatened and exposed to danger, such as the bombing risks and the risks of assassination of the people who work in these consulates. This leads to international crises between Iraq and the other countries, whose consulates may be exposed to risks. For this reason, many of the Arab countries turned to opening their consulates in Arbil governorate, rather than in the other governorates whether in northern, southern or central Iraq. As we mentioned, the main reason for opening the consulates in Arbil is the stability of the security situation in the governorate, as the local government has imposed its control over all the entrances and the exits of the governorate, as well as the good security of the governorate from all sides. This consequently will benefit Arbil governorate and all of Iraq, because this will encourage the rest of the countries to open their consulates in Arbil, if the current consulates achieve success in their business dealings in Iraq. Also, these consulates will strengthen relations between Iraq and the rest of the countries.

  • sondos


    Opening new consulates in Arbyl province shows that there is security and political stability in that province, which has significance in political, social and cultural aspects. The government of Kurdistan has taken care of this province, in addition to the large projects that already were completed in it. These projects make the province an important center that attracts many of the Arab countries to open consulates in it, as well as the investors and a lot of other important and large projects that benefit the province. Arbyl now is one of developed capitals around the world, in terms of services and other important cultural facilities, which make it distinct from other provinces. In addition, there is the security stability that plays a main role in developing this province and makes it focus of attention, if it’s compared to Baghdad and other Iraqi provinces. That’s why many of the Arab countries have recently decided to open their consulates in Arbyl province, although those consulates should be opened in Baghdad, the capital.

  • نابليون


    Baghdad should have priority in hosting the Arab Consulates over any other region. But what can we say, the presence of the dangerous terrorist and armed groups has done nothing but damage the country’s security by creating an atmosphere of fear and terror. Thus, the Arabs want to be in safe places in Iraq. And it is certain that the best place for them is the northern provinces, such as Erbil, which is a safe and stable province. Besides, it includes all the services for the citizens and the visitors.

    • كردي و افتخر


      You ignoramus, in all countries of the world there are an embassy and a consulate; the embassy is located in the main capital and the consulates in other cities. For instance, in Ankara there is the Swedish embassy and in Istanbul the Swedish consulate. You’ve got no information and see everything in colours of racism and tyranny, but God willing, we will become independent and break free of your evil and racism.

  • nancy


    I am an Iraqi citizen and I would like to apply for a job. I graduated in architecture and I am in dire need of work, because I am about to get married. In addition, I would like to work in the field of architecture in one of the State departments. I hope that I will find someone to help me and accept my application, and take into consideration that I am the breadwinner of my family and I have to satisfy all their needs. Unemployment has become widespread among the youth, despite the fact that they are degree holders. They studied, persevered and suffered from many difficulties in order to provide for their school expenses. However, the result is that many young persons are unemployed, and this represents a heavy burden for them. They used to dream about a better future and establishing successful families. In reality, they are unemployed and they don’t have salaries that would enable them to earn their bread. They are subject to many dangers, because they are lost and don’t know what to do.

  • ک نسیم


    It is very interesting to see that the Kurdistan region, or as some call it “the Kurdish region”, is financially and socially ahead of other parts of Iraq. This is the same Kurdistan which was struggling with poverty and calamity during Saddam’s era. However, now and after achieving it’s autonomous status, this region has reached a position which cannot be compared to any other place in Iraqi. As a Kurd, I must say that I am proud of you, the Iraqi Kurds!