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UAE appoints ambassador in Baghdad.

Byline: AM/AE

BAGHDAD, July 6 (VOI) Co The United Arab Emirates cabinet decided in a session on Sunday to appoint an ambassador in the Iraq capital Baghdad, a diplomatic source in the UAE said.

"The cabinet approved in a session on Sunday the appointment of Abdullah Ibrahim al-Shahi, the current envoy to India, as UAE ambassador in Baghdad," the Agence France Presse (AFP) quoted the source, who preferred not to have his name mentioned, as saying.

The step comes one month after UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan's visit to Baghdad, the first ever by a Gulf official at this level since the fall of the former regime in 2003.

Iraqi Prime Minister on Sunday said canceling Iraq's debts due for the UAE would improve his country's economy and help stabilize security.

Speaking at a meeting with UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Maliki said, "Writing off these debts would open new horizons for a debt-crushed country".

The United Arab Emirates has written all its debts off Iraq, which total just under $7 billion including debt service and arrears, a UAE diplomatic source said on Sunday.

Iraq and the United States have been calling on Arab neighbors to follow suit of Western nations and tolerate their share of Baghdad's outstanding foreign debts that total up to $80 billion.

The UAE official news agency said the original debts equal around $4 billion loaned to Iraq at different times.

For his part, UAE President Sheikh Khalifa said "canceling the debts is a gesture to foster ties between the two countries and to help the Iraqi government implement reconstruction projects and rehabilitate its institutions".

The UAE leader pointed out that "maintaining security represented the cornerstone in revamping Iraqi institutions and to restore its role on the regional and international arenas".

He termed the relative security improvement in Iraq as "a motive to help the country's political process to go ahead".

Earlier on Sunday Maliki arrived in the UAE on an official visit that aims at boosting bilateral relations between the two countries. Maliki was leading a high-ranking delegation of ministers, advisors and government officials.

"The delegation included Minister of Interior Jawad al-Bulani, Minister of Industry and Minerals Fawzi Hariri, Minister of Trade Abdul-Falah al-Sudani, and government Spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh," an Iraqi cabinet source, who preferred not to be named, told Aswat al-Iraq Co Voices of Iraq Co (VOI).

"Also among the delegation were the political advisor to the premier, Sadeq al-Rikabi; the media advisor, Yasseen Majeed; the national security advisor, Muwaffaq al-Rubaie; and the chairman of the investment authority, Ahmed Redha," the source noted.

On Saturday, Dabbagh said that the visit aims to open up to Arab and regional countries, expressing his hope that the United Arab Emirates will be among the first countries to reopen their embassies in Iraq.

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Publication:Aswat al-Iraq (Erbil, Iraq)
Date:Jul 6, 2008
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