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The Minister José Manuel Albares visits Lebanon and Iraq

The Minister for Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation has been on a tour of the Middle East which included meetings held at the highest level in Beirut and Baghdad. The goals for this trip included working for peace, security, stability and prosperity in the region, which Spain contributes to through UNIFIL peacekeeping missions and security support in Iraq.

January 25, 2024

​In Beirut, José Manuel Albares met with the Prime Minister of Lebanon, Najib Mikati, to whom he conveyed Spain's commitment to peace and stability in the country and in the Middle East. He also held talks with the heads of the Lebanese Armed Forces and with those of UNIFIL, which is currently under the command of Spanish General Aroldo Lázaro and to which Spain contributes 656 military personnel. 

During his stay in Lebanon, Minister Albares visited two projects financed by Spanish Cooperation: a modular school in the neighbourhood of Karantina, built by AECID after the Beirut port explosion and where 200 students are currently being trained, and a project in the municipality of Qennarit, implemented by Action Against Hunger, which guarantees access to drinking water for 10,000 people. José Manuel Albares then held a meeting with Spanish aid workers who work with different Lebanese NGOs and UN agencies in Lebanon. Before concluding his visit, the minister announced that Lebanon will be a priority country in the 2024 Master Plan and pointed out that, in order to "reinforce support for the Lebanese people", the Government is going to "quadruple" the AECID budget for Lebanon "to 30 million euro over the next three years". 

In Baghdad, the second stop on this tour, Minister Albares visited the Union III facility, where he met with Spanish General José Antonio Agüero, who heads the Atlantic Alliance's advisory and training mission to the country. He later held various meetings with the Iraqi authorities, including his counterpart, Fuad Hussein, with whom he reviewed bilateral relations and the security situation in the region. Following this meeting, José Manuel Albares affirmed that "historical relations between Spain and Iraq have been defined by the understanding and links between our peoples" and stressed that our country "has a long-standing commitment to Iraq, and we are fully prepared to support them in this difficult regional context". The Minister emphasised his agreement with his Iraqi counterpart that "it is imperative to stabilise the region, which requires a commitment on the part of the international community to direct all efforts towards that goal".

Before ending his trip to Baghdad, the head of Spanish diplomacy was received by President Latif Rachid and met with the Prime Minister, Mohamed Al Sudani.


PHOTOS: Javier Hernández (NOLSOM)