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Canada-Iraq Relations

Since April 2013, Canada is represented in Iraq by a new diplomatic mission in Baghdad, an office of Canada’s Embassy to the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and the Republic of Iraq in Amman. Its mission is to contribute to Canada’s economic prosperity through the expansion of the Canadian-Iraqi trade and investment relationship; to promote good governance, democracy, pluralism and respect for human rights in Iraq; and to support Canada’s contributions to effective global governance and international security. Consular services to Canadians, as well as immigration services to visitors to Canada and international students, are delivered from Canada’s Embassy in Jordan.

Iraq is represented in Canada by the Embassy of Iraq in Ottawa.

Bilateral relations: Canada believes that the establishment of a secure, stable and democratic Iraq is in the interest of global peace and prosperity. In 2003, Canada chose not to join the US-led military coalition to Iraq. However, it was among the first countries to provide humanitarian and reconstruction assistance to Iraq following the fall of Saddam Hussein, disbursing $300 million toward Iraqi reconstruction and humanitarian assistance between 2003 and 2010. Today, Iraq continues to benefit from Canada-funded regional initiatives and has received targeted funding for humanitarian needs that includes assistance to respond to the Syrian refugee crisis. Canada is also providing ongoing assistance to Iraq in implementing public administration reform, modernisation in the context of Federal-Governorate relations and fiscal decentralisation.

Iraq’s transition to democracy has not been easy. Concerned by the upsurge in violence and the increased number of terrorist attacks, Canada is committed to working with Iraq to develop the country’s pluralistic federalism and to uphold its religious diversity.

Commercial ties: Canadians have shown a high interest in Iraq’s economic development. In 2012, Iraq became Canada’s largest two-way trading partner in the Middle East, with bilateral trade amounting to 4.4 billion, a 166% increase from 2011. Canadian oil companies’ interests in Iraq are estimated at more than $750 million. Canadian private sector activities in Iraq benefit both the people of Iraq and Canadian citizens. Iraq’s natural resources and reconstruction efforts will continue to create significant business opportunities for Canadian companies. A Canada Trade Office, located in Erbil in 2014, will support the expansion of commercial ties between Canada and Iraq.

Resettlement of Iraqi refugees: Working with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Canada plays an active part in resettling Iraqi refugees living in Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey. Canada has committed to resettling up to 20,000 Iraqi refugees out of the Middle East by 2015 and had resettled over 17,000 between from 2009 to September 2013. The Iraqi commitment represents the single largest resettlement commitment by Canada in over 25 years. While the closure of our Embassy in Damascus has impacted our ability to deliver on this commitment, we continue to work with the UNHCR and partners to come to the assistance of Iraqi refugees.  

March 2014

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