Iraqi prime minister seeks German investment

70305671.jpgBy GEIR MOULSON Associated Press Writer | 2008-jul-22 |

Iraq’s prime minister said Tuesday that improved security means his country is now ready to welcome foreign firms, using a trip to Germany to encourage investment from Europe’s biggest economy.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the two-day visit by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki offered “the possibility to open a new chapter in relations” between Berlin and oil-rich Iraq. 70305761.jpg

Germany vehemently opposed the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq to depose Saddam Hussein, but has since helped the nation try to rebuild its security forces and develop its economy.

Al-Maliki touted the recent improvement in security in Iraq as he stressed that the country is open to foreign investment.

“We will be proud to welcome German firms in rebuilding the country — in the steel sector, for example, or cement, and in all other areas,” he told reporters through an interpreter after meeting Merkel. 70305731.jpg

“I think all the obstacles that existed until now have been cleared away, and we are very much ready to deal with all that remains in terms of difficulties” for firms that want to invest, he added.