(Photo Credit: AP)
Iraqi Prime Minister Muhammad Shia al-Sudani has instructed government officials not to visit or receive foreign delegations without the approval of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
During a meeting for the Ministerial Council for National Security on 9 November, the Iraqi Prime Ministry issued a circular to inform the Ministry of Foreign Affairs prior to visiting or receiving foreign delegations.
“Receiving and visiting foreign delegations can only take place with the government’s knowledge and approval and in coordination with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Otherwise, these cases will be dealt with by the laws in force,” the statement said.
During the meeting, Sudani stressed the importance of the Council’s role as the supreme authority in the country, responsible for all security decisions. He clarified that the essential goal of law enforcement still faces political, social, and economic challenges, which must be accompanied by tangible success at the service level.
According to Sputnik, some leaders and political figures in Iraq usually receive foreign delegations coming to the country, or meet with foreign personalities outside of it, often without coordinating with the Iraqi government or the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The prime minister further revealed that some parties, both at home and abroad, are bothered by the fact that Iraq is witnessing an achievement at the national level.
Since Al-Sudani took office last month, his main goal was to fight rampant corruption in the corridors of the government, which has suffered from a political vacuum for a whole year, during which protests swept Baghdad between supporters of the Sadrist movement and the Iraqi security forces.
On 17 October, the authorities launched an investigation into the embezzlement of $2.5 billion from the bank account of the Iraqi Tax Authority.
The investigation revealed the involvement of five companies, including the Tax Authority itself. As a result, the Acting Minister of Finance, Ihsan Abdul-Jabbar, was dismissed from his post due to allegations of mismanagement.
A few days later, the Iraqi National Security Service (INSS) was able to dismantle a large crude oil smuggling network in the country, which is witnessing turbulent economic conditions and is unable to provide electricity to its citizens or pay the salaries of state employees.
The authorities revealed the involvement of nine senior Iraqi officials, including the Director General of the Energy Police, Major General Ghanem Muhammad Jaafar Hassan, in connection with the smuggling case.
Just recently, on 6 November, Sudani dismissed the head of the Iraqi Intelligence Service, Raid Jouhi – who had been appointed by former prime minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi – and announced that he would be taking over himself as manager.
During his assignment to form the government, Sudani pledged to fight corruption as a top priority in his government’s work. After taking office, he said there are no red lines in pursuing and punishing the corrupt.