Canada Opens Diplomatic Mission In Iraq After Two Decades

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By Tendar Tsering | April 2, 2013 6:03 PM EST

Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird who is currently on a visit to the Middle East Monday opened Canada's diplomatic mission in the country after twenty two years.

On a brief visit to the country, John Baird Monday met with Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and speaker of the parliament among other political leaders in the Middle East country.

Inaugurating the mission office that will be an offshoot of its embassy in Jordan, the foreign minister in a press release acknowledged that Canada "needs to be on the ground in Baghdad."

"Ten years after the Iraqi intervention, Iraq is one of the fastest-growing economies in the world, despite deep and lingering sectarian tensions," said Baird, adding Iraq is one of the key leading countries in the Middle East.

"Canada's trade and investment interests in Iraq have strong potential, including in the country's north, where we will expand our dialogue with leaders in Arbil," said John Baird "To pursue our interests, we know that Canada needs to be on the ground in Baghdad."

Canada shut down its embassy in Iraq in 1990, years after the Iranian Revolution.

Stephanie Duhaime, 33 is appointed to occupy the semi-ambassadorial post and she along with the embassy in Jordan will continue to restore diplomatic relations in Iraq and expand its economic ties with the Middle East countries.

The 33-year old woman in 2004 joined the Canadian foreign ministry as Afghanistan's Operations Officer where she was one of the two officers assigned with rebuilding areas within Kandahar.

Canadian Immigration Minister Jason Kenney in early March made a surprise visit to the country where he met several leaders of the country including its prime minister.

After returning from visit to the Middle East, Minister Kenney expressed Canada's need to establish the diplomatic post in the capital of Iraq.

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