BAGHDAD, Sept. 8 (Xinhua) -- An Iraqi official newspaper on Sunday reported that optimism prevails in the Iraqi political and economic circles about the upcoming visit of Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi to Beijing later in the month.
Members of parliament and experts in the fields of politics and economy have hinted that the visit is of major significance for Iraq as it will bring economic diversification to Iraq that would contribute to increasing investments and creating job opportunities in the country, the state-run al-Sabah newspaper said.
China's Ambassador to Iraq Zhang Tao told al-Sabah in an interview that "the Chinese side attaches great importance to developing relations with Iraq and looks forward to seizing the opportunity of this visit to make joint efforts hand in hand with the Iraqi side to further consolidate and deepen Sino-Iraqi relations."
Zhang expressed his hope that Abdul Mahdi's visit will contribute to "upgrading the level of mutually beneficial cooperation in various fields, enhancing human and cultural communication between the two friendly countries in the framework of the Belt and Road (Initiative), and to jointly draw up future plans for the Sino-Iraqi strategic partnership."
For his part, Amer al-Fayez, a lawmaker and a member of the parliamentary committee of foreign relations, told al-Sabah that "Iraq began a period of diplomatic openness to the world for political, security and economic purposes."
"The prime minister's upcoming visit to China comes to strengthen economic relations, particularly, China is an important economic country," the newspaper quoted al-Fayez as saying.
According to the newspaper, another lawmaker Sadiq al-Selietti, who is a member of energy and oil parliamentary committee, said that Abdul Mahdi's visit to China "is positive in many ways, because China has passed many successful economic experiences."
Al-Selietti called on Abdul Mahdi to attract successful investments by bringing the best Chinese companies and agree with them "to absorb the local labor and holders of higher degrees in Iraq within their cadres," the newspaper said.
On May 5, Zhang said in an interview with al-Sabah newspaper that the volume of the trade exchange between China and Iraq exceeded 30 billion U.S. dollars in 2018, and asserted that "China is the biggest trading partner of Iraq, and Iraq is the second biggest oil supplier to China, and the fourth biggest trading partner of China in the Middle East."