The Secretary-General of ASEAN, H.E. Dr. Surin Pitsuwan extended his warm welcome to H.E. Dr. Hussain al-Shahristani, Deputy Prime Minister for Energy of the Republic of Iraq and his delegation today at the ASEAN Secretariat.

Dr. Surin explained that Energy plays a vital role in the recent success of economic and social development of ASEAN Member States, where ASEAN would continue to rely quite heavily on fossil fuels to meet its fast growing demand. In response, Dr. Hussain commended the interest of Iraq to strengthen the bond of friendship and cooperation with ASEAN. He also underlined the need to fulfill the demands of ASEAN and Iraq, particularly in oil energy and infrastructures.

While the oil exploration is still the main area for cooperation, Dr. Hussain explained that Iraq is keen to explore other potential areas of cooperation with ASEAN such as petrochemicals and fertilizers, agriculture, education, culture, and tourism. Dr. Hussain also informed Dr. Surin that Iraq is looking forward to invite ASEAN countries to re-open their embassies and diplomatic missions in Baghdad, its capital.

The meeting was held during the delegation’s official visit to the Republic of Indonesia.