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Wed. Apr 17th, 2024

Thabet Al-Abbasi, the Iraqi Minister of Defense, and Sebastien Lecornu, the French Minister of the Armed Forces, convened on Wednesday to explore avenues of collaboration in military training and armament. The meeting, which took place in France, underscored the significance both nations attribute to bolstering their defense capabilities.

Upon Al-Abbasi’s arrival in France, Lecornu extended a warm welcome and presided over discussions focused on strengthening bilateral relations, as reported by the Iraqi News Agency (INA). Lecornu reaffirmed France’s commitment to bolstering Iraq’s military prowess, citing it as a pivotal step towards fostering peace and stability within the country.

Highlighting France’s steadfast support for Iraq, Lecornu expressed eagerness to collaborate further in assisting Iraq post the conclusion of the international coalition’s mission. Emphasizing adherence to a memorandum of cooperation between the two nations, Lecornu stressed the need for sustained bilateral engagement.

A key aspect of the discussions centered on fortifying Iraq’s sovereignty, with both parties concurring on the imperative of securing its airspace utilizing cutting-edge technologies and equipment. The agreement reflects a shared commitment to safeguarding Iraq’s territorial integrity and independence.

Al-Abbasi’s visit to France, slated to span several days, will witness a series of meetings between Iraqi and French officials aimed at reinforcing the capabilities of the Iraqi armed forces. The visit underscores the depth of cooperation between the two nations in matters pertaining to defense and security.

This meeting builds upon prior engagements, including discussions held last July between Lecornu and Al-Abbasi, which focused on Baghdad’s negotiations with Thales Group regarding the GM400 radar system. Additionally, during a visit to Paris in January 2023, Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia Al-Sudani deliberated with representatives from Thales Group, Dassault Group, and Airbus on potential procurement of radars, Rafale aircraft, and military helicopters for Baghdad.

Furthermore, the collaboration between the Iraqi and French air forces was highlighted through joint exercises conducted in Iraq last May, featuring the participation of Rafale aircraft. Such joint endeavors underscore the commitment of both nations to advancing mutual defense interests and enhancing regional security.

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