31 May 2012 – Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert F. del Rosario received on March 31 his Iraqi counterpart, Iraqi Foreign Minister
Foreign Minister Zebari arrived in Manila last May 30, for a three-day official visit which is an important milestone in Philippine-Iraq relations as it is the first visit of an Iraqi Foreign Minister to the Philippines since the establishment of Philippine-Iraq diplomatic relations 37 years ago.
During their bilateral meeting, the two officials exchanged views on several issues and affirmed their commitment to strengthen bilateral relations in the areas of trade, labor and political cooperation. They also discussed the current security situation in Iraq as well as the total deployment ban for Filipino workers to Iraq, except Kurdistan.
Secretary del Rosario reiterated the Philippines’ commitment to assist in the manpower requirements of Iraq amid a massive reconstruction effort.
According to Secretary del Rosario: “The Philippine government constantly monitors the security developments in Iraq and will continue to study the current Alert Level and adjust it accordingly based on the security situation on the ground.”
“The POEA has lifted the deployment ban on Kurdistan which serves as a good starting point for our labor cooperation,” he added.
Both sides also expressed their commitment to hold the 7th Philippine-Iraq Joint Commission meeting later this year. The last Philippine-Iraq JCM was held on 23-25 January 2009 in Manila.
The two officials signed the Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation Between the Department of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of the Philippines and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Iraq. The signing of this Agreement will establish a formal mechanism where the foreign ministries of both sides can discuss sensitive issues that affect their common interests and relations, and also to exchange diplomatic insights and activities through joint visits and seminars.
“This Memorandum of Understanding between our foreign ministries will complement the Joint Commission Meeting (JCM) and can focus on political and security discussions,” Secretary del Rosario said.