Abul Gheit visits Baghdad following government formation

Egypt’s Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul Gheit on Sunday departed for a one-day trip to Iraq, during which he will visit Baghdad and the Kurdish city of Erbil.

Abul Gheit will open the Egyptian consulate in Erbil. In July, two consulates were designated to launch operations. Basra is the site of the other consulate.

Foreign Ministry official spokesperson, Hossam Zaki, said Abul Gheit was keen to be the first Egyptian diplomat to visit Baghdad to congratulate Iraqi officials on forming a government last Tuesday.

The government formation lifted Iraq out of nine months of political limbo, following parliamentary elections in March.

Abul Gheit is scheduled to meet Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, and Speaker of the Parliament Osama Nujaifi to discuss bilateral and regional issues, including debts, Egyptian labor in Iraq, and methods of boosting Egyptian investments in Iraq, according to Zaki.

The two plan to discuss current arrangements for hosting the Arab summit slated for March.

Abul Gheit will meet in Baghdad with Ammar al-Hakim, head of the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq, according to Zaki. He will also meet with number of Kurdish leaders including Massoud Barzani, president of Iraqi Kurdistan.

The visit will conclude with a meeting between Abul Gheit and Iraqi President Jalal Talabani.

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