Slovenian and Iraqi ambassadors to the UN, Roman Kirn and Samir Sumaidaie, signed an agreement on Friday at UN headquarters in New York establishing diplomatic relations between the two countries.
Slovenia is the first country to establish diplomatic relations with Iraq following Thursday's appointment of a new Iraqi government.
In a statement following the meeting, Sumaidaie said that Iraq was grateful for Slovenia's support and readiness to assist in the stabilisation and reconstruction of Iraq.
The signing of this agreement lays the groundwork for a long period of cooperation, the Iraqi official said.
Claiming that the reconstruction of Iraq was only in its infant stages, Sumaidaie stressed that there would be extensive possibilities for economic and other types of cooperation once the security situation was settled.
Despite the current troubles, we are optimistic that Iraq will get through the tough times and I believe there is great potential for cooperation, said Sumaidaie.
Speaking prior to the signing, Kirn underscored that Slovenia was already assisting Iraq through NATO and other international organisations. Bilateral assistance is set to increase as a result of the agreement, he added.
The Slovenian government decided on Thursday to establish diplomatic relations with Iraq.
In a press release posted on the Foreign Ministry's website, Foreign Minister Dimitrij Rupel said Slovenia did not make efforts to establish diplomatic relations during the reign of Saddam Hussein.
"The establishment of diplomatic ties with Iraq will enable the establishment of political cooperation and facilitate joint efforts in other fields...We are hoping for a speedy improvement in the situation in Iraqi and consequently an improvement in bilateral economic ties," the Foreign Ministry said.
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