(Edited from China Daily, Beijing) Iraq is keen to see China play a bigger role in the reconstruction of the war-torn country, the country’s top envoy to Beijing has said.

“After 2003, China has supported us very much and reduced Iraqi debts by 80 percent, which is greatly appreciated,” Iraqi Ambassador Mohammad Sabir Ismail told China Daily in an interview last Friday, referring to a $6.8-billion debt cut announced by China last month.

(Edited from China Daily, Beijing) Iraq is keen to see China play a bigger role in the reconstruction of the war-torn country, the country’s top envoy to Beijing has said.

 

“After 2003, China has supported us very much and reduced Iraqi debts by 80 percent, which is greatly appreciated,” Iraqi Ambassador Mohammad Sabir Ismail told China Daily in an interview last Friday, referring to a $6.8-billion debt cut announced by China last month.

 

Ismail also rolled out the red carpet for Chinese companies, some of which, namely in the energy and retail sectors, were already operating in Iraq.

 

“China has many giant companies qualified to participate in rebuilding Iraq, and, since our country will remain a big workshop in the next 20 years, I call on all Chinese companies to come and take up projects in rebuilding Iraq,” Ismail said.

 

On the question of US troops in Iraq, the ambassador said “at the end of the day, no one wants foreign forces to be present in their own territory,” although a few Iraqis might prefer US troops to stay just for the sake of ensuring security.

 

Ismail also said the March 7 parliamentary elections had proved that the country’s security forces were capable of protecting its people and reducing external threats.

 

An internal assessment by the US military had concluded that at least 37 people were killed in 136 attacks in the violence triggered by the election.

 

The ambassador noted that people’s faith in the security apparatus had risen, as the average turnout during the election was estimated at 63 percent.Many terrorist groups are still operating in Iraq and were trying to stop people from voting, but they didn’t succeed,” he said.

 

Ismail predicted that Iraq was likely to see a coalition government this time round, rather than being governed by a single party.

 

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