Friday, June 05, 2009
Romania’s President: Willing to give a hand in Iraq rebuilding
BAGHDAD / Aswat al-Iraq: Romanian President Traian Basescu said his country is willing to participate as much as it can in the reconstruction of Iraq, adding the withdrawal of Romanian troops will be followed by visits by businessmen and firms contributing effectively in the rebuilding of Iraq. “Romania will do whatever it can to play a role in the reconstruction of Iraq now that it boasts good experience in the fields of oil and agriculture,” Basescu said in a joint press conference with Iraqi President Jalal Talabani on Thursday. Earlier on Thursday, Basescu was in Iraq for a handover ceremony to mark the end of his nation’s military mission in the country, a media source said. “The president arrived in Thi-Qar leading a high-profile delegation and was received by senior Iraqi officials, including the chairman of the local council, Qusai al-Abadi,” the source told Aswat al-Iraq news agency. “You played an important role in Iraq, and I thank all Romanian soldiers for leaving your families and putting your lives at risk,” Basescu said at the ceremony, which marked the start of a total pullout of Romanian troops.The 350-strong Romanian contingent, part of the U.S.-led coalition, has been engaged in logistics and training duties. It is scheduled to leave by July 31 under a bilateral agreement signed in January. The Iraqi army’s chief of staff, Gen. Babaker Zebari, praised the efforts of multinational and Romanian forces, which he said had helped “Iraq get rid of the previous regime.” “Iraqi forces are ready, with the help of friendly forces, to take responsibility for security in Iraq,” Zebari added. Only U.S., Romanian, U.K. and Australian troops remain in Iraq as part of the coalition that ousted dictator Saddam Hussein in 2003. The spokesperson for the Multinational forces, Major Chad Carlo, had said earlier that the Romanian forces ended their mission in Iraq and will start withdrawing from Thi-Qar on Thursday.