International Order & Conflict

Concluding Conference Iraq and its Neighbours

The concluding conference of the “Iraq and its Neighbours” project, which was held in Brussels on the 13th and 14th of July 2021, brought together key stakeholders from Iraq and the region who had been involved in the project. Given the success of Iraq in hosting Iran-Saudi meetings in Baghdad and the overall regional trend toward de-escalation and détente, the conference dove into the evolving regional role of Iraq, how bilateral ties between Iraq and its neighbours have shifted, and whether the vision of Iraq as a center for regional dialogue remains a distant object or might be achievable in not-too-distant future.

On Iraq and its Neighbours

Since 2019, Stimson’s Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Program (formerly EastWest Institute) and the Center for Applied Research in Partnership with the Orient (CARPO) have been implementing the EU-funded initiative “Iraq and its Neighbours – Enhancing Dialogue and Regional Integration in West Asia”. This project envisions Iraq as the center for regional dialogue and cooperation rather than as a theater for proxy wars and conflict. To this end, relations between Iraq and its immediate neighbours Turkey, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Kuwait have been explored with the aim of identifying and operationalizing tangible ways of cooperation and coordination on issues of shared interest and concern. Furthermore, the current and future role of the European Union both in Iraq and the region had been subject of the discussion in a series of bilateral and multilateral workshops that were held in the past two years. The official launch event of this project was hosted by Casa Árabe in Córdoba, Spain on July 3rd, 2019, and attended by the Deputy Foreign Minister of Iraq H.E. Nazar Khairallah and then Secretary General of the European External Action Service H.E. Helga Schmid. 

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