Finland has decided to reopen its embassy to Iraq after a nearly three-decade break from service in the country. The aim of reopening the embassy is to intensify and improve relations between the two countries by improving economic relations, by developing trade between them and helping with reconstruction, and re-establishing bilateral ties.
After its functionalization, the main focus of Finland and Iraq will be returning thousands of Iraqis living illegally in Finland after their asylum applications were denied back to live in Iraq. Some 20,000 Iraqi migrants arrived in Finland in 2015.
Timo Soini, the Finnish Minister of Foreign Affairs, considers the decision to be a sign of improvement that will enhance future collaboration and cooperation between Iraq and Finland. He also believes that collaboration and cooperation between the two governments is an important factor to improve relations between Iraqi nationals living in Finland and.
“Iraq belongs to the European neighborhood, and its development will affect Finland, too. Finland has a fairly large Iraqi diaspora community, which means that cooperation between the citizens of the countries and other collaboration is increasing. The agenda of the discussions on the bilateral relations between Finland and Iraq includes also questions relating to the return of those whose asylum application has been refused,” Soini said.
The embassy will be staffed by four people and located in the same building in Baghdad that houses the Swedish embassy to Iraq. Currently, there are 14 EU member states that are represented at the ambassadorial level in Baghdad.
In 1991, after the beginning of the first Gulf War, Finland closed its embassy to Baghdad. Since then, cooperation between the two nations hasn’t stopped and is looking hopeful in the future.