UK can play lead role in aiding Iraqi prosperity: O'Brien

London's role as a leading global financial centre means the UK can play a key role in helping the Iraqi people rebuild their country, Trade Minister Mike O'Brien has said.

Speaking as UK and Iraqi financial representatives gather for a roundtable meeting starting in London today, Mr O'Brien said UK financial institutions have "much to offer" in helping to establish a stable, democratic and prosperous Iraq.

"Iraq has the potential to be an economic success story, if it is given the chance and the right assistance. It is in the interests of the UK and the international community that we continue to help the Iraqi people to rebuild their future. The benefits of their peace, stability and prosperity will be felt well beyond Iraq," he said.

The delegation of Iraqis from the private banking, insurance and accounting sectors will join UK bankers and industry contacts at the roundtable meeting today and tomorrow. The Iraqi delegation is led by a senior adviser from the Coalition Provisional Authority Ministry of Finance.

The event, which will outline the services and expertise available in the City of London, is being hosted by International Financial Services London with support from UK Trade & Investment.

Mr O'Brien said that international expertise and resources would be needed to rebuild the Iraqi economy in partnership with the Iraqi private sector.

"I hope that this week's round table is the start of closer ongoing cooperation between UK and Iraqi financial service providers, which could only benefit the Iraqi economy and Iraqi people," he added.


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