Iraqi President Barham Salih said, on Wednesday, that corruption fuels terrorism and violence in his country and the countries of the region, stressing the need to seriously combat corruption along the lines of terrorism.
This came during his meeting with the Secretary-General of the Arab League, Ahmed Aboul Gheit, and Arab justice ministers participating in the “International Conference for the Recovery of Stolen Funds” in the capital, Baghdad, according to a statement by the Iraqi presidency.
On Wednesday, the conference kicked off, and its work continues until Thursday, with regional and international participation, and aims to develop practical frameworks to combat corruption and recover looted public funds.
Saleh explained, “The big problem facing Iraq and many of our countries is the problem of corruption that erodes our systems, and it also represents the political economy of violence and terrorism.”
He added, “ISIS and other terrorist organizations have relied heavily on corruption funds to perpetuate themselves.”
He stressed the need for “the world to deal with the file of corruption and illegal wealth, just as the file of terrorism was dealt with militarily.”
He pointed out that “a large part of the violence that afflicted Iraq is linked to financial corruption networks of smuggling and illegal trade.”
And he added: “Fighting extremism and terrorism and establishing the foundations of stability in the country can only be done by confronting corruption with the same way we faced terrorism.”
On May 23, President Saleh stated, in a televised speech, that $150 billion in corruption deals had been smuggled out of the country since 2003.
Iraq is among the most corrupt countries in the world, according to the Transparency International index over the past years.
In this context, British Defense Minister Ben Wallace expressed his country’s support for Baghdad in the fight against terrorism, during his meeting with the President of the Kurdistan Region in northern Iraq, Nechirvan Barzani, in London.
Wallace added that Britain will continue to work within the international coalition against ISIS, according to a statement issued by Barzani’s office.
In turn, the Iraqi official thanked “Britain’s role and support for Iraq and the Kurdistan region in the war on terrorism,” according to the same source.
Earlier on Wednesday, Barzani arrived in London on an undisclosed official visit, during which he is scheduled to meet with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
In 2017, Iraq announced victory over ISIS by restoring its entire territory, which was estimated to be about a third of the country’s area, which was invaded by the organization in the summer of 2014. However, the latter still maintains sleeper cells in large areas, and launches attacks between varying periods.
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