The economics minister for Belgium's French-speaking Wallonia region, Serge Kubla, said Monday that a Belgian trade office would be opened shortly in Baghdad. "Belgium will shortly open a commercial office in Baghdad to organize the commercial and economic relations between the two countries," Kubla said, quoted by the INA news agency.
Kubla earlier held talks with Iraq's Commerce Minister Mohammad Mehdi Saleh, who predicted "great strides in commercial relations with Belgium, which occupies an important place in Iraq's relations with Europe".
"Twenty Belgian firms from the electrical, mechanical, building, food and pharmaceutical sectors are taking part in the Baghdad international trade fair" which opens Wednesday, Kubla said.
Kubla arrived in Iraq Saturday on a six-day visit heading a delegation of business leaders to discuss prospects for cooperation. "It's a first for Belgium after ten years of blacklisting of (Iraq) by the international community," Kubla told Le Soir newspaper before his departure for Baghdad.
Iraq has been under international sanctions since its 1990 invasion of Kuwait. — (AFP, Baghdad)
© Agence France Presse 2000
© 2000 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)