Iraq, Turkey intensify talks on new border gate
Last week's UN summit on the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) held in Istanbul offered a unique opportunity to high-level Iraqi and Turkish officials to discuss prospects of diversifying already improved bilateral relations between the two countries, with the opening of a new border gate being a key agenda item in these talks. Although on the agenda for more than a decade, due to ups and down between the two neighboring countries the opening of a new border gate became almost an urban legend at some stage. Yet, as a sign of improving mutual will for improving relations as well as presence of a growing mutual confidence between the two nations, attempts to make this project real appear to have been intensified. “The opening of a new border gate near the Ibrahim Khalil border gate has come on the agenda of our talks with Turkish officials,” Iraq's newly appointed Planning Minister Ali Youssef al-Shukri told Today's Zaman last week in İstanbul during a brief interview on the sidelines of the Fourth United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries (LDC-IV). While in İstanbul, Dr. al-Shukri had separate talks with Turkey's economy minister and the state minister for planning with the intent to strengthen bilateral cooperation between the two countries covering the agenda of talks. Dr. al-Shukri has called on Turkish corporations to invest in Iraq.