France is “serious” in helping Iraq to generate electricity and will invest more in Iraqi infrastructure, French President Emmanuel Macron said on Wednesday during his one-day visit to Baghdad.
“We want to implement projects which are important, especially Baghdad’s railway and the energy project which we talked about with Mr Prime Minister [Mustafa al-Kadhimi]. France is ready and serious to help you with providing energy sources,” Macron said during a press conference with Kadhimi.
Kadhimi also commented on the project, but did not clarify when it would begin.
The project allows Iraq to “have nuclear energy to generate electricity” and will “be used for peaceful projects,” said the prime minister, adding that the project will be under the supervision of the International Energy Agency (IEA).
In Iraq following a trip to Lebanon, the French president said he “insisted” on visiting Iraq and also spoke of his support for Iraqi sovereignty, violated by various states in recent months amid ongoing airstrikes.
Iraq, a country where summer temperatures reach 50 degrees Celsius, has long suffered from a chronic shortage of electricity. The shortages have in past years been a rallying call for protests, particularly in Iraq’s southern provinces.
Iraq imports 1200-1500 megawatts of electricity a day from Iran. It has also begun buying some energy from the Kurdistan Region.
Both leaders also talked about boosting French investment in the economy, business and reconstruction.
“We will work on removing obstacles before French companies come and work here. We will provide all sorts of support,” Kadhimi added.
“We are also committed to helping you in terms of education and science as well as supporting Mosul University. We will do our utmost to help you, especially in Shingal, helping the Yezidis,” Macron said.
Kadhimi praised France for the support it has provided in the past, especially in the fight against the Islamic State (ISIS) and the restoration of sites destroyed in the conflict.
“France has provided a lot when it comes to Shingal and Mosul. Once again, we thank our French friends for the support, especially regarding restoring the culture and archaeological places which were destroyed by Daesh,” he said.