CAIRO â€” Egypt is workingÂ to enhance itsÂ cooperation and relations with Iraq, notably in the military field.
During a Dec. 10 meeting with Iraqi Minister of Industry and Minerals Manhal Aziz Mahmoud in Cairo, Egyptian Minister of State for Military Production Mohamed Ahmed Morsi announced his countryâ€™s readiness toÂ developÂ Iraq’sÂ defense industry andÂ establish complete production lines in Iraq.
According to a Dec. 10 statement released after the meeting by the ministry, the Iraqi side agreed on mutual visits by technical delegations from both countries to discuss the production of weapons and ammunition.
On Dec. 9, an Iraqi delegation headed by Iraqâ€™s Minister of Planning Khalid Batal NajimÂ signed a number of agreements in the economic, agricultural and military industry fields during a visit to Cairo.Â
During his Nov. 26 meeting with Iraqi Defense MinisterÂ Juma Inad Saadoun, who was visiting Cairo, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi stressed that his â€œcountry is keen on cooperating with Iraq in all fields, mainly the military.â€
Sisi emphasizedÂ Egyptâ€™sÂ interest inÂ â€œmilitary cooperation with Iraq to support the country in overcoming all the challenges it facesÂ and help it strengthen its national institutions and maintain its security and stability.â€
On Nov. 29, Saadoun visited several militaryÂ factories in Egypt, most notably the tank production and mantenance facility calledÂ Factory 200 inÂ HelwanÂ and a facility inÂ Qalyubia calledÂ Factory 300.
Egyptâ€™s minister of military production, who accompanied Saadoun in his visit to production factories, also stressed his countryâ€™s â€œinterest in cooperatingÂ with the Iraqi Defense Ministry and in strengthening the strategic partnership between [Egyptian] military production companies and Iraqi companies.â€
He added, â€œEgypt discussed with the Iraqi side the possibility of cooperation to revamp Iraqi factories in a bid to boost the efficiency of production linesÂ as well as supplying Iraq with requirements and equipment for military production.â€
Saadoun expressed Iraqâ€™s aspiration to strengthen cooperation with the Egyptian Ministry of Military Production in the defense industry.
The senior Iraqi official also visited the Egypt-based Arab Organization for Industrialization (AOI), where he met withÂ headÂ Lt. Gen. Abdel Moneim el-Terras andÂ discussedÂ cooperation between Baghdad and Cairo in the defense and security industries and ways to strengthen these ties.
Terras stressed the â€œimportance of technical training of Iraqi staff in the AOI centers in Egypt.â€
Saadoun said that his country is “looking forward to the OAI participation in the projects currently underway in Iraq, mainly in the field of defense industries and armored vehicles.â€
On Nov. 27, Egyptian Defense Minister Lt. Gen. Muhammad Zaki and his Iraqi counterpartÂ discussed ways to support military cooperation between EgyptÂ and Iraq.
On Dec. 11, Egyptâ€™s Ministry of Industry Nevine Gamea announced thatÂ an Egyptian ministerial delegation willÂ visit IraqÂ to discuss ways to boost cooperation between the two countriesÂ and support Iraqâ€™s economy and industry.
Maj. Gen. Gamal Mazloum, aÂ military adviser at Nasser Military Academy, told Al-Monitor, â€œIraq has confidence in Egyptâ€™s intentions toward it. Cairo does not covet Iraqâ€™s wealth and riches. Military cooperation is based on mutual trust.â€
â€œAspects of military cooperation between Iraq and Egypt included training for Iraqi military officers, assisting the Iraqi army in developing defense industriesÂ and manufacturing Iraqi-made weapons,â€ Mazloum explained.
Nar Salem, another adviser at the Nasser Military Academy, told Al-Monitor, â€œSince Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi took office, Iraq has been seeking to consolidate relations with Arab [countries]â€ adding,Â â€œEgypt benefited from Iraqâ€™s desire for rapprochement with Arab countriesÂ and has concluded several agreements with Baghdad.â€
On Oct. 31, Egyptian Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly visited Iraq and concluded 15 memoranda of understanding and a program of cooperation with Iraq in various fields, including transportation, water resources, health, environment, justice, investment, housing, construction, industry, tradeÂ and finance.
AÂ tripartite summit was held in August in the Jordanian capital Amman between Egyptâ€™s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, Kadhimi and Jordanâ€™s King Abdullah II. In his speech, Sisi said his country was ready to provide expertise to Jordan and IraqÂ and to establish joint development projects that will directly benefit citizens. He went on to stressÂ the need to boost political and security cooperation between the three countries to fight terrorism.Â
â€œEgypt will also cooperate with Iraq in the field of combatting terrorism, especially since the country suffers from the proliferation of Iran-backed armed groups. There will also be cooperation in the defense industry,â€ he added.
Salem stressed that military cooperation will benefit Egypt byÂ opening a new Arab market for Egyptian weapons.
â€œEgyptian weapons are suited toÂ Arab armies.Â â€¦ Therefore, Iraq seeksÂ Egyptian-made weapons. The upcoming period might witness joint military exercises and drills between the armies of the two countries to consolidate military relations,â€ Salem explained.
Iraqi Armed Forces spokesperson Brig. Gen. Yahya Rasoul said in a press statementÂ Dec. 12, â€œEgypt supports Iraqi in its war against terrorist organizations on the basis of one Arab nation, and it seeks to rebuild [Iraq] and its infrastructure to fix the destruction left behind by terrorism.â€