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UAE vows aid to build Iraq infrastructure

Hani M Bathish
Filed on May 12, 2004

DUBAI - The UAE Minister of Labour and Social Affairs, Matar Humaid Al Tayer, has pledged to extend his ministry's assistance to the Ministry of Labour and Public Affairs of the Republic of Iraq to help rehabilitate the infrastructure damaged during the American-led invasion and ensuing violence in the country.

He renewed his pledge after a meeting with his Iraqi counterpart.

Mr Al Tayer yesterday accompanied Sami Azara Al Majoon, the Iraqi Minister of Labour and Public Affairs, on a tour of the Social Development Centre and the Office of Social Affairs in Dubai, which was followed by a luncheon at the Al Bustan Rotana Hotel. Mr Al Majoon is on a four-day visit to the UAE on the invitation of the UAE Minister of Labour and Social Affairs.

Speaking to Khaleej Times on the sidelines of his meeting, Mr Al Majoon said that the Ministry of Labour and Public Affairs has, since its inception under the US-led Governing Council, managed to take care of 80,000 needy families and elderly persons in Iraq and hopes to cover the needs of another 300,000 Iraqi families within one year.

"We have rehabilitated the orphanages, the centres for the handicapped and special needs institutions in Iraq, as well as the institutions for the deaf and blind. Work is on to accommodate all the homeless and orphaned children and ensure the needs of the handicapped," he said.

"In addition, we have opened 28 offices for the ministry in different parts of the country to accept applications of Iraqi citizens in search of employment and job training," Mr Al Majoon said.

The minister said another meeting with Mr Al Tayer will be held soon to chalk out the broad outlines of future cooperation between the Iraqi Ministry of Labour and Public Affairs and the UAE Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs.

Mr Al Majoon said that the ministry's priority is to rehabilitate and rebuild much of it's damaged infrastructure, crippled or destroyed by war, and that the UAE has promised to do what it can to assist in this regard.

"The ministry facilities and institutions need renovation and new equipment and the UAE Minister of Labour and Social Affairs has pledged to do all it can to support our efforts including an exchange of expertise between the UAE and Iraq," Mr Al Majoon said.

Mr Al Majoon was quoted in the Iraqi newspaper Addustoor as having welcomed the decision by Paul Bremer to restore Baathists. He said those who joined the Baath party to get a chance to earn a living are welcome to contribute in rebuilding the country, but that high-ranking Baathists should be isolated.

He was also quoted as saying that instability and the absence of security in Iraq was the result of former Baathists joining Al Qaeda and other similar groups from neighbouring countries to spread terrorism and destruction in Iraq.


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