U.K. to expedite visa processing for Iraqis

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By Bassem Hassan

The United Kingdom is to open a special visa section in Baghdad to make it easier for Iraqis to get visas, British ambassador in Baghdad Simon Collis was reported as saying.

The ambassador made the remarks on a visit to the southern Iraqi Province of Basra, where provincial authorities have expressed their anger at a British government decision to close down the British consular section there.

Basra is currently one of the most secure and quiet provinces in Iraq. The tranquility has turned it into a hub for foreign investments in billions of dollars.

Basra’s Governoer Khalaf Abdulsamad, in a statement following Collis’s visit, said he urged the ambassador to reconsider the decision of closing the British consular section down in the city.

He said the provincial government was in touch with the British government for keeping at least the visa-issuing section active in the city.

“The province is in need of all forms of foreign expertise to develop local workforce as well as the infrastructure,” the statement quoted Abdulsamad as saying.

Collis, according to the statement, predicted “large developments in relations between Britain and Basra through the implementation of joint projects in all walks of life.”

Basra is Iraq’s largest oil-producing Province. It has some of the world’s largest oil fields.

But despite its massive oil wealth, it is still one of Iraq’s most impoverished provinces.

 

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