Dhaka, Bangladesh (BBN) – Iraq gives highest priority to Bangladesh in pursuing its bilateral relations in Asia, Iraqi Ambassador to Bangladesh Shakir Qasim Mahdi has said.
The Iraqi envoy expressed the desire during a meeting with Foreign Minister Dr Dipu Moni at her office in the capital Dhaka on Monday
The envoy informed that with a rich background of mutual and historic relations between the two brotherly countries, and strong bonds of relationship and with a view to strengthen and revive it.
Shakir Qasi informed that as a gesture of goodwill and further improving the relation between the two countries, the Iraqi government, recently, has approved exclusive A-category visas (which is applicable only for Iran and Syria) for Bangladesh indicating Iraq’s priority and deep intention of building up strong bilateral relations with Bangladesh. 
The A-category visa, the envoy explained, will include all kinds of visas, which would be issued by the Iraqi Embassy in Dhaka at the shortest possible time, by 15 days duration. 
Dipu Moni warmly welcomed and appreciated Iraq’s decision and hoped that it would play a pivotal role in improving the relations as well as boosting the confidence between the two countries. 
They also discussed some other important mutual issues of bilateral importance. The issue of Iraqi Prime Minister Noori K. Al-Mali’s recent invitation to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina also came up in the discussion.
The ambassador said the Iraqi government, specially the Iraqi Prime Minister in person, is keen to looking for a visit by Prime Minister of Bangladesh to Iraq at her earliest convenience, preferably in the first half of the year. 
The foreign minister, however, opined that she would work out for a date which she foresees not before the second half of this year. The Iraqi ambassador then handed over the original invitation letter to her for its onward transmission to its appropriate destination. 
It may be mentioned here that the invitation letter was earlier communicated to Bangladesh side.
The foreign minister assured the ambassador of all cooperation from the government of Bangladesh as well as from her in person. 
She told the ambassador that Iraq could be benefited by the Bangladeshi globally demanded exportables namely garments, pharmaceuticals, ceramics, jute, leather. She also encouraged him to explore the potentiality to recruit more Bangladeshi manpower. 
The ambassador told her that he would actively work on those issues and hoped that Air Services between the two countries would be resumed soon. 
BBN/SSR/AD-07Feb12-7:30 am (BST)