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Germany

Iraqi Prime Minister Wants Closer Political, Economic Ties to Germany

Iraqi Prime Minister al-Maliki called for German companies to take a greater interest in his country. Despite a German-Iraqi still being held hostage, the security situation in Iraq has dramatically improved, he said.

German and Iraqi flags

German companies have a particularly good reputation in Iraq, al-Maliki said

Iraq's Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki told the German mass-market daily Bild on Tuesday, Feb. 17, that it would be "excellent if (German firms) would take on a greater role in the reconstruction" of his country, adding that it was "the perfect time for foreign investment" in Iraq.

He said his country wants to "build good relationships and true friendship with Germany and Europe," and added that he was "hoping for political as well as economic cooperation."

Germany has contributed to the training and equipping of the Iraqi army and police forces, and, al-Maliki said, German companies have made agreements with the Iraqi government to participate in the reconstruction of Iraq's rail network.

"German firms have an especially good reputation in Iraq," he said. "They are the best thing that could happen to our country."

Security worries remain

Photo montage of al-Maliki in front of an Iraqi flag

Iraq is ready to ensure its own security, al-Maliki said

Addressing security concerns, al-Maliki said Iraq had made substantial progress and would be able to ensure the safety of its citizens when US-led forces leave the country.

"The country is standing on the feet of its own constitution," he said. "We can control the country alone. The coalition troops are now mainly giving us logistical support."

The situation has improved to the point where reports of kidnappings and murders had "disappeared from televisions," al-Maliki said.

But one German-Iraqi is still being held hostage. Sinan Krause was kidnapped in Baghdad in February 2007 with his mother, who was set free in July 2007. Despite the Iraqi authorities efforts, his location remains unknown. "We wish we knew where he is being held," al-Maliki said. "I would deploy all the power of the army to free him."

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