Iraqi leader backs China infrastructure deal

The multibillion-dollar strategic agreement between China and the government of Iraq, according to Prime Minister Mustafa Al Kadhimi, is moving forward. He also denied rumours that he had tried to scuttle the arrangement.

He was criticised for allegedly favouring the US, China’s geopolitical foe, and attempting to prevent Iraq from taking part in Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative. After Adil Abdul Madhi was forced to retire in May 2020 due to rallies in favour of a change, Mr Al Kadhimi, the former chief of the Iraqi National Intelligence Service, was appointed prime minister.

In October 2019, Iraq was nearing an agreement with Beijing when protests over issues like corruption, unemployment, and public services broke out. As the nation worked to recover from decades of war, Baghdad had begun putting some provisions of the agreement into practice, such as building power plants and civic structures.

Last Monday, Mr Al Kadhimi lay the foundation stone for a project in which Chinese businesses would construct 1,000 schools around Iraq.

“This is the first stage within the deal with China, there are more schools to come and we will continue implementing some projects within that deal,” he added.

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