By John Lee.

The Iraq Britain Business Council (IBBC) has welcomed four new members, bringing its membership to 71 companies:

Crescent Petroleum: Sharjah-based Crescent Petroleum is the only foreign oil and gas company to maintain a continuous presence in Iraq for three decades, and is the largest private oil and gas investor in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq.

Sardar Trading Agencies (STA): One of the core companies of Sardar Group, with more than 50 years of experience in the Iraqi private business field, mainly in the automotive segment.

Stirling Education: The Luxembourg-based company is committed to providing excellent affordable education and pastoral care for students in Iraq. Across Iraq, they have around 17,000 students, 42 schools and two university campuses.

Tube Tech International: UK-based Tube Tech is a world leader in the removal of fouling from refinery, petrochemical and energy process assets.

(Source: IBBC)

The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg has confirmed its commitment to support stabilization and humanitarian activities through mitigation of explosive hazards in Mosul, Iraq with a contribution of 500,000 Euros to the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS).

The battle with Da’esh in Mosul drove much of the population to leave their homes to become internally displaced persons (IDPs).  Of the 54 residential neighbourhoods in West Mosul, 15 are heavily damaged and 23 are moderately damaged following the fighting in Mosul.

This is affecting the return of over half a million civilians. One of the main concerns for people returning to Mosul, now and in the future, is the extensive presence of explosive hazards such as Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) and unexploded ordnance (UXO).

UNMAS teams have already conducted initial assessment missions to Western Mosul, and confirmed significant damage to infrastructure such as water and electric plants and sewage systems. Western Mosul represents one of the largest and most complex stabilization challenges the United Nations has faced.

Identification and removal of explosive hazards is the first step before stabilization initiatives or humanitarian interventions can take place and is a crucial enabling factor for any stabilization activities in Iraq. Until areas have been assessed, it is not safe for people to return.

UNMAS has been supporting humanitarian access in East Mosul since August 2016 and in West Mosul already since February 2017, carrying out assessments, survey, and clearance operations.

On Saturday, the Head of KRG Foreign Relations, Minister Falah Mustafa, received Mr. Jean Asselborn, Minister of Foreign and European Affairs of Luxemburg and his accompanying delegation to discuss strengthening of bilateral relations as well as developments in the region.

Minister Mustafa welcomed Minister Asselborn in his first visit to Kurdistan and expressed the desire of the Kurdistan Regional Government to build strong ties between the Kurdistan Region and Luxemburg.

Minister Mustafa briefed the visiting minister on the military, humanitarian, economic and political challenges facing the Kurdistan Region and called for further humanitarian support from the government of Luxemburg and the international community during this challenging time.

Minister Asselborn thanked Minister Mustafa for his warm welcome and commended the KRG on its economic, political and security achievements.

He added, “We are in favor of providing Military assistance to the Peshmerga forces. We have clearly stated our support for the decision of Germany and other EU countries to provide military assistance to the Kurdistan Region.”

Minister Asselborn highly spoke of the role of the Peshmarga forces in the fight against ISIS and of the KRG in accommodating over 1.5 million refugees and displaced people and pledged that Luxemburg will continue to provide humanitarian assistance to those vulnerable people who have taken refuge in the region.

Both ministers also discussed potential areas of cooperation and expressed their commitment to work together in order to further develop bilateral relations for the benefit of both sides.

Mr. Karwan Jamal, Deputy Head of DFR, Mr. Jean Olinger, Director for Political Affairs, Mr. Jean-Marie Frentz, Director of MENA and Mr. Delavar Ajgeiy, KRG Representative to the EU also attended the meeting.

(Source: KRG)