Iraq PM to tour Germany, Italy from Monday

untitled.bmpBAGHDAD (AFP) — Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki will begin his planned tour to Germany and Italy on Monday and will also meet Pope Benedict XVI, government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said on Thursday.

Maliki will hold talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on political, economic, and security issues that concern both their countries, Dabbagh said in a statement.

Maliki would also meet representatives of German companies who have shown interest in setting up business in Iraq, he said.

During his meetings with German officials, the issue of three Germans currently held captive by the rebels from the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) is expected to be discussed.

Maliki will travel to Italy on July 24 and meet his counterpart Silvio Berlusconi, and the following day have an audience with the pope, Dabbagh said.