Iraq ambassador pays courtesy visits to justice department

On Friday, 15 March 2013, Iraq Ambassador, His Excellency, Dr Hisham Al-Alawi, met with the Deputy Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development, Mr Andries Nel during his visit in Pretoria.

The purpose of the visit was that Iraq wanted to negotiate a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development in the legal field.

In the course of the discussions, Deputy Minister Nel shared with the Iraq delegates that during the struggle against apartheid, as well as the transition from apartheid to democracy, South Africa, received a lot of support from the international community, including Iraq.

“We had a very strong international orientation when it comes to those matters and it’s a great pleasure that we share our experiences, and whatever little capacity and knowledge we have in those areas with our countries,” explained Mr Nel.

Amongst matters discussed during the meeting were human rights issues, new Iraq’s Constitution and women empowerment. Ambassador Al-Alawi said the month of March was very important as this year, his country will be remembering the 10th anniversary of the invasion of Iraq. He added that Iraq has always been on the receiving end of human rights abuses.

“There were many Iraqis who were killed following the invasion of Iran in the last eight years and Kuwait in 1990 - which led to the Second World War in 1991,” the ambassador said, adding that it has been a challenge for his country to overcome the legacy and to learn to live with that past. Mr Al-Alawi further explained that Iraq has also put in place systems and regulations that would ensure that the country would not have a repeat of what had happened.

“Despite all the difficulties we had in the past, we made a significant progress along this line. We feel very optimistic about the future,” remarked Ambassador Al-Alawi. He added that Iraq has a new Constitution which has similarities with the South African Constitution as the two countries also share related challenges.

With regards to women empowerment, the ambassador said Iraq has many women in different professions who have made a positive contribution to the rebuilding of the country.

He added that the unstable security environment has largely impacted on foreign investment in the country. However, Mr Al-Alawi further explained that foreign investors view Iraq with increasing interest.

Broader economic improvement, long-term fiscal health and sustained increases in the standard of living still depend on the government passing major policy reforms as well as the continuous development of Iraq's massive oil reserves.


Ambassador of Iraq, His Excellency, Dr Hisham Al-Alawi and Justice and Constitutional Development Deputy Minister Andries Nel shake hands after their brief meeting in Pretoria on Friday.


Dr Hisham Al-Alawi, the Ambassador of Iraq hands over a token of appreciation to the Deputy Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development Mr Andries Nel.

By Benson Ntlatleng

15 March 2013