Iraqi minister and his delegation participated in the training programme at Ifimes


Ljubljana, 8 October 2012 - From 1 to 7 October 2012, the International Institute for Middle-East and Balkan Studies (IFIMES) from Ljubljana, Slovenia, organised a professional training programme entitled "Experiences of countries in transition and the role of civil society" for a high-level delegation from Iraq. The delegation was led by dr. Nassar Al-Rubaiee, Minister of Labour and Social Affairs of the Republic of Iraq and chairman of the largest party of the Parliament of Iraq. The ten-member delegation was also comprised of the Vice-Chairman of the State Consultation Council of Iraq Mrs. Ibtisam Yousif Muhsin and eight general and executive directors of Iraqi ministries.

The delegation was sent on the training programme on the basis of the decision adopted by the Iraqi government with the aim to learn about the experiences of countries in transition in the fields of economy, justice, public administration and the role of civil society. During their study visit the delegation met the representatives of various institutions and the economy.

During the visit to Slovenia dr. Nassar Al-Rubaiee met Slovenian Minister of Labour, Family and Social Affairs Andrej Vizjak, Slovenian Minister of Health dr. Tomaž Gantar, Speaker of the National Assembly of the Republic of Slovenia dr. Gregor Virant, President of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Slovenia dr. Ernest Petrič, Chairman of the Committee on Foreign policy of National Assembly of the Republic of Slovenia Jožef Horvat, Slovenian MEP Jelko Kacin and others. He also visited one of Slovenia's most successful companies GEN-I d.o.o. and the City Municipality of Koper.

On Friday, 5 October 2012, Iraqi Minister of Labour and Social Affairs dr. Al Rubaiee was the speaker at the press conference organised by IFIMES. He presented the training programme and the possibilities for co-operation with Slovenia and other countries in the region of former SFRY, stating that Iraq could capitalize on the experiences gained by those countries after the introduction of the multi-party system. Minister Al Rubaiee stressed that after the overthrowing of the dictatorship regime Iraq is now in the phase of democratisation which has brought numerous new problems to the country. The experiences of Slovenia and other countries in the region are therefore highly relevant for strengthening democratic institutions and further development of Iraq. He also mentioned the possibilities for co-operation and transfer of knowledge and experiences in various sectors and noted that visa liberalisation and regular airline services are the precondition for the establishment of co-operation.

The press conference was also attended by Slovenian Member of the European Parliament and member of the EP Delegation for Relations with Iraq Jelko Kacin, who pointed out that the EU often has misconceptions about Iraq. Having visited Iraq several times he is convinced that it is a country with bright prospects for the future, but it needs assistance in the form of transfer of experiences, knowledge and best practice in order to facilitate its democratisation process. Kacin also noted the problems with granting visas to Iraqi citizens and promised he would make an effort to simplify those procedures.

At the end of the press conference IFIMES directors Zijad Bećirović and Bakhtyar Aljaf presented members of the delegation with the certificates of training and thanked Minister Al Rubaiee for the trust Iraqi government has vested in their institute by sending the delegation to IFIMES. The directors also expressed their desire to continue co-operation in the future.

Ljubljana, October 8, 2012