Korek Telecom customers in southern Iraq will soon experience high-speed mobile broadband and better voice call services with improved coverage.

For this, Korek Telecom, a leading telecom operator in Iraq, has selected Nokia Siemens Networks to deploy its advanced radio, microwave transmission and packet core network elements, using its comprehensive services. The operator has also renewed its care and managed services contract with the company.

“We wanted to provide better internet experience and improved voice call services for our customers in Iraq,” said Ghada Gebara (pictured), Chief Executive Officer, Korek Telecom. “To achieve this, we needed a globally renowned technology partner, so we selected Nokia Siemens Networks. With Nokia Siemens Networks’ advanced radio and core network technology, we will soon be able to introduce high-speed mobile broadband and enhanced voice services to our customers in southern Iraq.”

“To fulfill the needs of Korek Telecom which is growing fast in the Iraqi telecom market, we are committed to providing strong technology support to the operator,” said Mikko Ylä-Kauttu, head of customer team Korek Telecom at Nokia Siemens Networks.

“Our radio and core network will ensure more throughput, improved coverage and higher quality to help Korek Telecom satisfy existing customers and attract new ones. In addition, our comprehensive services will ensure the rollout is fast and efficient, with everything working seamlessly.”

At the end of this month, Martin Kobler will finish his two-year term as United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Special Representative for Iraq, and Head of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI).

While his tenure has not been without controversy — he has, for example, been strongly criticised by some for his handling of the situations at Camp Ashraf and Camp Hurriya — few would argue with this comment from his address to the United Nations Security Council earlier this week:

The country can continue to make important strides in deepening the roots of democracy, pursuing reform, embracing diversity, as well as improving its stature in the international community. Or, Iraq can go down a dangerous path, potholed with political impasse and sectarian violence at each turn, leading to increased instability.

In his closing remarks, he highlighted four principles that he deemed important at this time:

  • First, the Constitution should be upheld and implemented in full;
  • Second, Iraq’s resources should be utilized efficiently and distributed equitably;
  • Third, the environment should be protected; and,
  • Fourth, the Government should scale up and implement a national policy on women while helping young Iraqis shape their own futures in the land of their birth.

Mr Kobler is moving on to head the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO), and Iraq Business News would like to take this opportunity to wish him well in his new post.

By John Lee.

Mass Global Investment Company has selected GE steam turbine technology to increase the efficiency and the output of the Erbil Power Plant in Iraq’s Kurdistan region.

In operation since late 2008, the Erbil plant plays a vital role in meeting the growing power needs of Kurdistan, Iraq.

Under the new agreement, GE will supply two steam turbines that will be used to convert the Erbil plant from simple to combined-cycle operation, boosting plant output by 500 megawatts, enough additional electricity to serve 100,000 Iraqi households. The agreement also includes installation services.

Ahmad Ismail, Chairman of Mass Global, said:

“Mass Global continues to be at the forefront of meeting the power requirements of the Kurdistan Iraq region. Converting our Erbil facility to combined-cycle service supports the Kurdistan Regional Government’s policy to increase the thermal efficiency of its power generation facilities. This new agreement builds on our growing relationship with GE, a global technology leader, whose proven and reliable advanced energy technology has been employed in our gas power facilities since 2006.

The project will increase thermal efficiency to more than 48%, making Erbil among the most efficient power plants in Iraq. The GE C-7 steam turbines will join eight GE Frame 9E gas turbines already operating at the site and further expands GE’s growing relationship with Mass Global.

By John Lee.

Nawzad Hadi, Governor of Erbil, has visited the Kore-Qandil road project to review progress.

On his visit Mr. Hadi was accompanied by Deputy Governor Tahir Abdullah, general directors of roads, municipality and water resources in Erbil, in addition to the Mayor of Shaqlawa.

They started their visit at the Kore-Qandil road, a 49-km highway being built by the Yuksel Company at a cost of $220 million. During their visit the team insisted on finishing the project in the current year, including the tunnels at Sorki and Mirawa.

Later they visited the towns of Harir and Basirma where they checked 50,000 m2 of asphalting; another 75,000 m2 of tarmacking is ready to be carried out. They also visited the 3-billion IQD mobile electric generator which will supply all electricity needs in the Harir and Basirma area.

(Source: Erbil Governorate)

By John Lee.

The Iraqi government has announced a series of development projects in Dhi Qar [Thi Qar] province as part of this year’s annual provincial development plan.

Deputy Prime Minister for Service Affairs, Saleh al-Mutlaq [ Saleh al-Mutleg, Salih al-Mutlaq] (pictured), told Al-Shorfa that the projects, which include building a sewerage network, extending drinking water pipes, constructing new roads and paving and rehabilitating old roads, will cost 25 billion Iraqi dinars ($21.5 million).

Turkish and local Iraqi companies have started work and are due to finish within two years.

(Source: Al-Shorfa)

The new Turkish Consul General in Erbil, Mr Mehmet Akif Inam, met with Minister Falah Mustafa as part of his courtesy calls with senior government officials.

He previously served as a Counsellor in the Turkish Embassy in Washington DC. He replaces his predecessor, Mr Aydin Selcen.

In welcoming him to his post in Erbil, Minister Mustafa reaffirmed the KRG commitment to the ‘strategic relationship’ between Kurdistan Region and Turkey, and expressed readiness and support to his tenure.

Minister Mustafa said, ‘We are in the process of further strengthening this relationship. This is an important relationship for this region and there are many areas of cooperation for us, including in the political, economic and cultural spheres.”

‘We have laid the foundation, but there is room for more. We can work together in the interest of peace and stability in the greater region,’ he added. He also underlined the need to build institutional ties and further promote people-to-people relations.

Conveying regards and wishes from his Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Inam said: ‘I cannot find words to describe our relationship. The trend we have is amazing and is something we can showcase to the rest of the world.’

The new Consul General also acknowledged the efforts of their representation in Erbil to help with visa matters and in facilitating the growth of ties between both sides. He said, ‘We must continue this trend and raise the bars.’

The two sides also spoke about the political developments in Kurdistan Region and the contributions Turkish companies are making in the economic growth.

Mr Inam was accompanied by outgoing Vice Consul of the Turkish Consulate General, Mr Cafer Asik. The Head of Turkish Desk at the Department of Foreign Relations, Dr Abdulsalam Ismail, also attended the meeting.

(Source: KRG)

By Mushreq Abbas for Al-Monitor. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

The Iraqi parliament’s passage on June 23 of the Provincial Powers Law, which bolsters decentralization and gives local governments added authority, encouraged politicians to demand that the Federation Council Law be revived in a bid to further strengthen decentralization.

The 2005 Iraqi constitution states in Article 65 that “a legislative council shall be established named the ‘Federation Council’ to include representatives from the regions and the governorates that are not organized in a region. A law, enacted by a two-thirds majority of the members of the Council of Representatives, shall regulate the Federation Council formation, its membership conditions, its competencies and all that is connected with it.” The council has not yet seen the light of day, despite the parliament submitting a draft law to organize it in 2009.

The importance of the Federation Council lies in its function as a permanent overseer of relations between the central government and the governments of the regions and provinces. The Federation Council’s powers were the subject of disagreements that hindered the adoption of this earlier version of the law. Penned by the parliamentary Provinces Committee, it gave the council powers in keeping with the developments that followed the adoption of the Provinces Law.

On July 8, Nabil Harbo, a member of the Provinces Committee, stated, “The council’s powers lie in its capacity to monitor all pieces of legislation adopted by parliament. It also has the power to veto any decisions aimed at diminishing the authority of provinces. The council will filter out all laws adopted by parliament, and has the authority to either pass those laws or reject them.”

This view of the council’s powers is clearly representative of the parties that favor decentralization. They consider it an additional safety valve safeguarding the authorities that regions and provinces have gained of late. It is a vision undoubtedly crystallizing and expanding to include most of Iraq’s political spectrum, thus leading to the resurgence of demands for the formation of a new council.

From Al Jazeera. Any opinions expressed are those of the authors, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Iraq has been hit by a wave of bomb attacks in the biggest increase in violence in five years.

The latest attacks have included blasts at football fields, mosques and cafes, as people mark the month of Ramadan.

More than 300 people have been killed so far this July.

Al Jazeera’s Jane Arraf reports from Kirkuk:

Translated from Al-Hayat by Abdel Wahed Tohmeh, for Al-Monitor. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Iraqi Kurdistan Region Natural Resources Minister Ashti Hawrami (pictured) said that the shares of oil companies operating in the region have exceeded $3.5 billion. He stressed the importance of the oil and gas law’s enactment, and estimated that oil reserves in the three Kurdish governorates are at more than 45 billion barrels.

In an interview with Al-Hayat, Hawrami said that the negotiations with Baghdad will be in accordance with the law, which determines the Kurdistan region’s financial share of federal revenues. “The provincial government informed Baghdad at the beginning of this year that the investing companies requested more than $3.5 billion [in shares], and they are constitutionally entitled to this,” he said.

He denied Baghdad’s accusations that the region is exporting crude oil without coordinating with Baghdad, adding, “This is taking place under an agreement with Baghdad to export our production, on the condition that 50% of proceeds is deducted to pay companies’ dues, while the other 50% is kept by the state treasury. However, all the proceeds were seized.”

He denied rumors of smuggling, saying, “There is no oil smuggling, we do not accept such cheap accusations. What was claimed is a legal entitlement and it came because we forbid them from grabbing it.” He criticized the current management of the country’s imports, which “still follows the methods of the former regime and include laws that are imposed on us by force from the federal government.”

Hawrami demanded that the central government provide the region with the 55 million barrels of fuel “that we did not receive from 2004 to 2012, and that are needed for domestic consumption.”