Within the framework of mutual coordination and strengthening bilateral relations, Iraq and Saudi Arabia agreed to facilitate procedures for granting entry visas to businessmen in both countries, mutual consultation and coordination in international forums, and to enhance security and intelligence cooperation with regard to combating crime, smuggling and terrorism.
A statement by the Iraqi Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Monday, January 10, stated that Iraqi Foreign Minister Fouad Hussein, with his Saudi counterpart Prince Faisal bin Farhan, held the third meeting of the Political, Security and Military Committee of the Iraqi-Saudi Coordination Council via video conference.
A statement by the Iraqi ministry stated that the two sides agreed to continue cooperation and coordination in political, security and military issues, and to work to develop a common vision for the most important issues of concern to the two countries and in various fields, as well as to expedite the signing of a security memorandum of understanding between the Ministries of Interior in both countries, in addition to cooperation in the military fields by establishing joint exercises within the framework of a memorandum of understanding concluded between the two countries in the military field.
It was also agreed to exchange training courses and experiences in the field of studies and strategic planning, and to continue supporting Iraq’s efforts in cooperation with the International Coalition to Combat ISIS.
The two sides also agreed to continue cooperation and coordination in various fields, exchange visits, and continue holding the committee emanating from the council in a way that enhances bilateral cooperation and achieves the aspirations of the leadership and peoples of the two countries.
Iraq free from risk
On the other hand, Iraq announced on Sunday, January 9, its removal from the European Union’s list of countries with high risks in the areas of combating money laundering and terrorist financing, which analysts considered a major economic and political breakthrough, especially in light of the country’s trend towards reconstruction, facilitating the movement of funds and international support that were affected by the decision.
The Iraqi Foreign Ministry said in a statement, “The European Commission delegation handed Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi a letter that included removing the name of Iraq from the European Union’s list of countries with high risks in the field of combating money laundering and terrorist financing.”
“The mission congratulated Iraq on the great measures and efforts that have been taken to improve the system to combat money laundering and the financing of terrorism,” the statement added.
“The positive and continuous cooperation provided by the European Union, the countries that voted on the resolution, and the EU mission in Iraq, came after Iraq raised its procedures to the level of international requirements,” the statement continued.
In May 2020, the European Commission classified Iraq, along with other countries, including Afghanistan, Pakistan, Syria, Yemen, Iran and North Korea, on the list of countries that pose financial risks to the European Union due to the shortcomings in combating money laundering and terrorist financing.
The Commission explained that it included Iraq in the blacklist of countries that pose financial risks to the European Union due to indications of the presence of money laundering and terrorist financing in the country, considering that it had “become a threat to the financial system of the European Union.”
In May 2021, Sabah al-Numan, a spokesman for Iraq’s Counter-Terrorism Service (CTS), announced the development of a strategy to combat terrorism in the country for the next five years.
He said in a press conference held at the time that the CTS, in accordance with the tasks assigned to it by law, is an intelligence agency that works on following up and dismantling terrorist networks, adding that its work is not limited to terrorist activity, but also to monitoring and evaluation.
Numan noted that the CTS worked on developing a plan to advance its capabilities for the next three years, and at the beginning of this year it was completed. He added that the CTS launched the five-year Iraqi strategy to combat terrorism, noting that operations are still continuing against the remnants of ISIS.