An agreement signed between the Egyptian government and its Iraqi counterpart to supply Egypt with 1m barrels of Basrah Light crude oil per month with facilitated payment terms will come into effect within the next few days. The announcement was made by Habib Al-Sadr, the Iraqi ambassador to Egypt, in an interview with the Middle East News Agency on Wednesday.
The Egyptian minister of petroleum visited Baghdad in October, after Saudi Aramco halted the five-year agreement to import 700,000 tonnes of petroleum products a month to Egypt. The Saudi decision to halt shipments led a number of deputies from the National Iraqi Alliance to call on the Iraqi government to export crude oil to Egypt with facilitated payments.
Al-Sadr explained that the Egyptian-Iraqi relationship is strategic and dates back the time of Babel. He added that the Iraqi government appreciates Egypt’s support in combating terrorism, and that it looks forward to increase collaboration in the future.
“There are currently some Iraqi cities that have suffered severe damage due to military operations against Islamic State (IS),” Al-Sadr said. “After totally expelling IS from these cities, they will need reconstruction. The first thought that comes to the Iraqi government’s mind is bringing Egyptian companies and workers to join the reconstruction process.”
He added that an Egyptian delegation visited Iraq in December, in order to transfer their expertise in the rehabilitation of factories and establishments which were destroyed, as well as supplying logistical medical support to Iraqi hospitals.
When he was asked about the problems facing the Iraqi community in Egypt, Al-Sadr said that there are still some unresolved issues, explaining that the visa procedures for Iraqis are very difficult.
Al-Sadr added that Egypt currently needs to restore its tourism sector, and if the visa requirements were facilitated for Iraqis, they will greatly contribute to reviving tourism. He said that Iraqis want to enjoy their vacations in Egypt which in turn will contribute to strengthening the ties between not only the governments, but the people as well.
Moreover, Iraqi investors—if allowed to enter Egypt─will boost Egypt’s real estate market with their high purchasing power. “There shouldn’t be any fear from Iraqis entering Egypt as there is no evidence that they ever carried out any terrorist activities outside of Iraq,” Al-Sadr claimed.