By Adnan Abu Zeed for Al Monitor. Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News. 

The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) has agreed to lift sanctions imposed on Iraq when the country invaded Kuwait 27 years ago.

The Iraqi Foreign Ministry said Dec. 9 the country had completed its obligations under the sanctions, which were imposed in 1990 when dictator Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait. The UNSC levied the penalties after naming Iraq a threat to international security and ordered it to pay reparations to states and other parties that suffered as a result of the invasion.

Some 27 years later, Iraq is still suffering the effects of the invasion. Hisham al-Rukabi, the head of Vice President Nouri al-Maliki’s press office, told Al-Monitor that the Iraqi people welcomed the recent UN decision.

Saad al-Hadithi, the spokesman for Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, said the move is “an important event in Iraq’s recent history and the closing of a painful [age] that lasted a long time, during which the Iraqi people suffered reduced sovereignty as well as political and economic sanctions that damaged the country’s institutions as well as individuals.”

Lifting the sanctions, he said, “will make Iraq more able to develop and achieve prosperity for its citizens, and restore the world’s trust so it can deal with Iraq as a fully sovereign nation.”

He predicted the decision will allow Iraq to play a greater political and economic role in the Middle East, experience an economic recovery and attract new investment.


Source: Iraq News

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Genel Shares Rise on Debt Reduction Plan

By John Lee.

Shares in Genel Energy closed the day up 5.9 percent on Wednesday, after the company’s bondholders approved its proposal to reduce the outstanding bond debt from $421.8 million to $300 million.

It will also extend maturity through amending and restating terms to a new 5 year tenor.

DNB Markets and Pareto Securities acted as managers for the refinancing.

(Source: Genel Energy)


Source: Iraq News

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A top Kurdistan Regional Government delegation, headed by Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani held an extensive meeting with the Kurdistan Parliament Deputy Speaker Jaafar Ebrahim Eminky and heads of Parliamentary Committees of Natural Resources, Industry, Energy, Financial and Legal Affairs.

The KRG delegation included Deputy Prime Minister Qubad Talabani and a number of senior officials.

In the meeting both sides discussed a number of pressing issues related to the current situation in the Kurdistan Region. They shed light on budget options for the 2018 fiscal year, relations with Baghdad, Kurdistan oil production, mechanisms to pay back debts, fighting corruption, transparency, reforms and efforts to protect the constitutional rights of the Kurdistan Region.

The KRG and Parliament officials stressed on the importance of continued cooperation and coordination between the Kurdistan Government and Parliament and agreed that priority should be given to securing the salaries of the public sector employees, conducting reforms and auditing in the payroll systems of the Region.

Both sides also agreed that relevant Kurdistan Parliament committees visit their federal counterparts in Baghdad to lobby against passing the draft 2018 federal budget bill that significantly reduced Kurdistan Region’s share of the federal budget.

(Source: KRG)


Source: Iraq News

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The UN Security Council announced on Friday that all the measures imposed in its resolutions 1958 (2010) and 2335 (2016) pursuant to Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations in relation to the Iraq oil-for-food programme had been fully implemented.

Unanimously adopting resolution 2390 (2017), the Council welcomed the fact that the remaining funds in the escrow accounts established pursuant to resolution 1958 (2010) had been transferred to the Government of Iraq pursuant to resolution 2335 (2016).

The Council acknowledged the Secretary-General’s final report on the matter (document S/2017/820), which stated, among other things, that the remaining $14,283,565 in the administrative escrow account had been transferred to Iraq.

Following the adoption, Amy Noel Tachco (United States) applauded Iraq’s complete implementation of measures under the oil-for-food programme, although the country still faced many challenges.  She looked forward to close cooperation internationally and bilaterally in support of Iraq as a federal, democratic and prosperous country.

Resolution

The full text of resolution 2390 (2017) reads as follows:

The Security Council,

Recalling its resolutions 1958 (2010) and 2335 (2016),

Acknowledging receipt of the final report of the Secretary-General pursuant to paragraph 4 of Security Council resolution 2335 (2016), S/2017/820,

“1.   Welcomes the implementing arrangements entered into by the Secretary-General and the Government of Iraq as requested in paragraph 7 of Security Council resolution 1958 (2010);

“2.   Also welcomes that the remaining funds in the escrow accounts established pursuant to paragraphs 3–5 of Security Council resolution 1958 (2010) have been transferred to the Government of Iraq pursuant to Security Council resolution 2335 (2016);

“3.   Concludes that all the measures imposed by the Security Council in resolutions 1958 (2010) and 2335 (2016) pursuant to Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations have been fully implemented by the parties.”

(Source: UN)


Source: Iraq News

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Funding Facility for Stabilization Q3 Report

By the end of the third quarter of 2017, UNDP’s Funding Facility for Stabilization (FFS) was undertaking 1,208 projects in 23 cities across five governorates in Iraq.

Over one quarter of the projects were being implemented in the city of Mosul, which was fully liberated in July 2017. The liberation of all of Mosul marked an important milestone in the battle against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), representing the biggest city to have been retaken by the Iraqi Security Forces as well as the most complex stabilization challenge to date.

Mosul’s road to recovery has only begun, especially in West Mosul where the destruction is unprecedented. Access to all portions of the city on the western side remains a challenge in some parts, especially the Old City which was almost completely destroyed.

The Funding Facility is working with the Government of Iraq to prioritize the response, focusing on restarting public services and setting the conditions for people to come home with dignity.

In a dozen cities where FFS is cleared to work, many basic services are now functioning. From Ramadi and Fallujah to Tikrit and Qayara, returnees have much improved access to water, health, and electricity services. Schools are being reopened and university campuses are bustling with students.

Whilst a colossal amount of work remains to be done, there is palpable progress being made. Nearly 900 projects completed or ongoing in FFS areas outside of Mosul are helping create the sense that there is momentum and the Government of Iraq is helping returnees.

Governorates that have been liberated for over a year are beginning to transition from immediate stabilization to expanded stabilization priorities. In Anbar, Salah al-Din, and Diyala, expanded stabilization projects that were being designed and procured are increasingly being implemented.

Twenty-four donors have contributed US$ 426,611,814 as of 30 September 2017, and approximately $300,000,000 in hard pledges are expected to be mobilized in the fourth quarter of 2017. This report provides an overview of all FFS activities underway during the third quarter, which encompasses 1 July – 30 September 2017.

Highlights

  • In Mosul, 350 projects are being implemented or developed, 250 schools were assessed, and water has been restored to 300,000 residents in East Mosul
  • In the Ninewah Plains, 45 schools were completed or being rehabilitated. Work on the Hamdaniyah Hospital, the first Expanded Stabilization project in the Ninewah Plains, is underway
  • Two major bridges in Anbar were reopened, and another five are being implemented
  • Housing rehabilitation in Fallujah and Ramadi targeted over 6,000 homes
  • Five segments of the Tikrit Teaching Hospital are complete; the rehabilitation of the main building will begin soon

The full report can be downloaded here (7.6MB)

(Source: UNDP)


Source: Iraq News

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US emphasises Importance of Sound Banking System

US Ambassador to Iraq Douglas Silliman (pictured) has  joined other distinguished guests and speakers at the Iraq Banking and Investment Summit on December 2.

The Ambassador spoke about the need to create economic opportunity for Iraq’s younger generation through a transition from a government-controlled, oil-based economy, toward a more diversified free market system that fosters and encourages private investment.

He noted the need to improve the ease of doing business in Iraq and emphasized that a sound banking system will be crucial to provide financing for aspiring entrepreneurs and business people.

The U.S. Embassy supports Prime Minister Abadi’s efforts to address these reforms and ‎is actively engaged in promoting U.S. business investment in Iraq.

(Source: US Embassy)


Source: Iraq News

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