Baghdad asks Germany to remove Iraq from EU money laundering and terrorist financing list

Baghdad asked Germany to remove Iraq from a list of countries noted at high-risk for money laundering and terrorist financing, during a phone call between the foreign ministers of the two countries on Sunday.
Fuad Hussein, Iraqi foreign minister spoke with his German counterpart, Heiko Maas, on the phone Sunday, and discussed bilateral relations between the two countries, including the European Union’s continued inclusion of Iraq on a list of states prone to suspicious financial movement.
“Minister Fuad Hussein…called for Mr. Heiko Maas to intensify his efforts to remove Iraq from the list of high-risk countries in money laundering and terrorist financing,” a statement by the Iraqi foreign ministry published on Sunday reads.
The European Union adopted a list of countries with weak anti-money laundering and terrorists financing regimes in February 2019, which included Iraq alongside 22 other countries around the world.
The aim of the list is to protect the European Union’s financial systems by “better preventing money laundering and terrorists financial risks,” the statement by the European Union commission reads alongside the list.
Iraq has been fighting various terrorist groups over the years, most notably the Islamic State (ISIS) group, which seized vast swathes of Syria and northern Iraq in the summer of 2014, including Mosul and other large Sunni-majority cities.
Baghdad called on the international community to form a coalition to help fight ISIS in Iraq. At the height of its power between 2014 and 2016, ISIS controlled an area roughly the size of Great Britain, spread across both Iraq and Syria.
Germany has been a core member of the US-led coalition and the NATO training mission in Iraq since Baghdad invited its forces to assist in the fight against ISIS in 2015.
Although the government announced the territorial defeat of ISIS in Iraq in December 2017, remnants of the group have returned to their earlier insurgency tactics, ambushing security forces, kidnapping and executing suspected informants, and extorting money from vulnerable rural populations.
The German government announced in September 2019 that it would extend its mission with the Coalition until October 2020, but reduce its total number of troops across the Middle East from 800 to 700.
Germany has supported Iraq and the Kurdistan Region through non-military means as well. Germany officially handed over the Peshmerga Hospital in Erbil to the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in April. The facility strives to treat members of the Kurdistan Region’s security forces wounded in the ISIS war.
In 2018, Germany invested 90 million euros in water sanitation, sewage, and construction to stabilize Iraq following the defeat of ISIS.

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