China, Iraq pledge further reciprocal cooperation as PM visits

08:11, July 19, 2011      

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Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao (R) shakes hands with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki in Beijing, capital of China, July 18, 2011. (Xinhua/Yao Dawei)

China and Iraq on Monday vowed to conduct further reciprocal cooperation in oil exploration, electricity and other fields, and signed two cooperation deals.

The pledge was made during talks between Premier Wen Jiabao and visiting Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki, who's also the first prime minister to visit China in the over 50 years of history of diplomatic relations.

"The Chinese government will encourage companies to establish a long-term and stable relationship on oil and natural gas supply and demand with the Iraqi side and expand cooperation in oil exploration, refinery and equipment trade," Wen said.

He said China will continue to provide assistance for Iraq's economic reconstruction, seriously implement debt relief agreements, actively participate in Iraq's infrastructure construction, and help its personnel training.

Maliki said he hopes more Chinese companies will invest in Iraq and called for the two sides to expand cooperation in such fields as oil and gas, electricity, transportation, housing, telecommunications and agriculture.

He also vowed to take further measures to protect the safety of Chinese in Iraq and the interests of Chinese companies there.

After the hour-long talks in the Great Hall of the People, the two prime ministers witnessed the signing of a cooperation deal on economic and technology and an exchange of notes on personnel training.

In the talks, Wen also reaffirmed China's support for Iraq's efforts to maintain national independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity, as well as to strive for stability and development.

Noting China always respects the hopes and choices of the Iraqi people, Wen said China will strengthen high-level exchanges, enhance mutual understanding and trust, and conduct closer coordination and cooperation with Iraq on major international and regional issues.

"We believe Iraq is able to realize long-term stability and economic development and contribute to regional peace and stability," the premier added.

Maliki spoke highly of the traditional friendship between the two countries and thanked the Chinese government and people for assistance amid Iraq's difficulties.

The valuable assistance and support played important role for Iraq's stability and reconstruction, Maliki said, adding that the Iraqi government will steadily abide by the one-China policy and will make joint efforts with China, an important strategic partner, to promote bilateral cooperation in all fields.

In addition to the talks, President Hu Jintao is scheduled to meet Maliki during his stay in the capital city. Maliki will also travel to Shanghai.

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