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PA Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh gestures as he arrives for a cabinet meeting of the new Palestinian government, in Ramallah, April 15, 2019.(Photo by: MOHAMAD TOROKMAN/REUTERS)
Shtayyeh: Palestinians in Iraq will be given equal rights
By KHALED ABU TOAMEH
07/17/2019
“The president, prime minister and parliament speaker of Iraq told me that they will honor all the rights of Palestinians in Iraq,” Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh said.
Iraq has pledged to grant Palestinian refugees equal rights to Iraqi citizens and improve their living conditions, Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh said on Wednesday.
 
Speaking during the weekly meeting of the PA cabinet in Ramallah, Shtayyeh said that Iraq and the Palestinians have also agreed to establish joint firms in the private and public sectors.
 
Summing up his recent visit to Iraq, Shtayyeh said that the meetings between the two sides were very fruitful.
 
“The most important result [of the visit] is that our Palestinian brothers in Iraq (about 7,000 refugees) will receive the same treatment as Iraqi citizens and get all their rights,” he said.
 
Until 2003, there were nearly 35,000 Palestinians living in Iraq. Palestinians in Iraq say their situation deteriorated after the fall of Saddam Hussein, and they have since been facing discrimination and sectarian violence by the Iraqi government and Shia groups. As a result, many Palestinians were either killed or forced to flee to Syria and Jordan.
 
“The president, prime minister and parliament speaker of Iraq told me that they will honor all the rights of Palestinians in Iraq,” he said.
The Iraqi leaders, he added, confirmed that their country will fulfill its financial obligations to the PA in accordance with the resolutions of the Arab League.
 
During his talks with the Iraqi leaders, including Iraqi President Saleh Barham and Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi, Shtayyeh said he discussed several issues including import, export, investment, agriculture, energy, the opening of Palestinian banks in Iraq and the import of petroleum.
 
The PA premier said he and his delegation, which consisted of senior Palestinian officials and businessmen, were warmly received by the Iraqi leaders.
 
“Iraq is dear to every Palestinian, and Palestine nestles in the heart of every Iraqi,” Shtayyeh said.
 
He told reporters in Baghdad that his two-day visit to Iraq was in the context of the PA’s “strategy of achieving gradual disengagement from the colonial relationship imposed by the existence on the ground of the Israeli occupation, and to turn more toward the Arab countries to strengthen economic opportunities.”
 
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