The event to celebrate the 30 years of friendship between South Korea and Iraq was held at Grand Ballroom, Grand Intercontinental Seoul Parnas at 6pm on 3rd September.
H.E. Hayder Shiya Albarrak, Ambassador of Iraq, said in his welcoming speech that Iraq and South Korea tied diplomatic ties in 1989 and this year marked 30th anniversary; but the cooperation and partnership went far before the official ties; for example, Hyundai Construction built a seawater desalination facility in Basra District in 1978.
He continued, South Korea was the 4th biggest trade partner of Iraq in the world and the volume jumped to 11.5 billion dollars last year from 8 billion dollars previous year; and this year expected record high;
He said he wanted to take this time to encourage Korean companies to invest in Iraq as Iraqi government would provide all-in-one security and visa services as well as necessary support for convenience including technical part and logistics for foreign investors;
He pointed out that South Korea contributed to private sectors through Zaytun Division after the collapse of the dictatorship in Iraq in 2003 followed by Korean companies’ proactive participation in rebuilding the nation and they never stopped their businesses or withdrew the businesses at all ever since; Hanwha Engineering & Construction’s new town project in Pasmaya was a good example;
He said that the Korea International Cooperation Agency also carried out hundreds of projects which were still ongoing in the fields of health, education, communications, infrastructure, women and youth at the nationwide level;
He emphasized that Iraq today was no longer Iraq past; it passed down the regime in democratic way, applied the standards of human rights, strengthened the transparency, protected public fund, built strategic partnership with other nations, ran the neutral policy and no interference with other’s internal affairs;
Taking the podium after the ambassador, Byungdo Han, Special Presidential Advisor on Iraq, gave a congratulatory message. Han said that he had been a friend of Iraq for more than 15 years; during this time, he could witness himself, strong will of Iraqi government and eagerness of Iraqi people towards reconstruction and economic development;
He continued that Iraq was putting its efforts for the country’s reconstruction and economic development in order to overcome the pains of war and terrorism; Iraqi government was actively attracting foreign investments in the field of energy, infrastructure and construction, and collecting the will and capability of its people towards the economic development; Iraq was in the process of reducing its dependence on oil, and transforming its society to knowledge-based through Iraq’s National Vision 2030;
He said that South Korea was ravaged and full of despair after the Korean War but achieved splendid economic advancement through the Miracle on the Han River; such an experience could help Iraq in realizing their dream of reconstruction and sustainable development;
He emphasized that Korean companies were taking part in Iraq’s development through Bismayah New City projects which could accommodate six hundred thousand people, and through Karbala refinery project; currently, the field of cooperation between the two countries had been diversified from construction and energy sectors to health and e-government sectors;
He then closed his speech by saying that he truly hope that this celebration of the 30th anniversary of diplomatic relations could become a foundation for new leap forward towards deeper cooperation between the two countries.
The two speeches were followed by a presenting of appreciation certification. A number of high officials of big names such as LG, Hyundai, etc took the stage to receive the appreciation certification and among them was Yongjo Mun, Chairman of Pinco World, who organized the event.
During the gala dinner after the rewarding ceremony, a fashion show of traditional Iraqi costumes and a folk performance entertained the guests of the event.
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