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UAE companies close in on Iraq project deals

An Iraqi official has said that negotiations between the Iraqi National Investment Commission (INIC) and several UAE real estate developers and investment companies on large-scale projects in different parts in Iraq have reached "advanced stages". Sami Al Araji, chairman of INIC told Gulf News the projects under negotiation are worth nearly US$70 billion and that the talks are expected to be finalised in the near future.

"The two sides [the INIC and Emirati companies] are serious in their desire for the talks to succeed, and things are going well, and in the right direction," said Al Araji. ?The details are now under discussion.?

Once completed, the total value of these contracts is estimated at US$70 billion, Al Araji said. While some UAE companies already have a presence in Iraq's northern region of Kurdistan, the negotiations underway are, "on giant and big projects all over Iraq, in Baghdad, in Central Iraq, and in the south," according to Al Araji. "Projects under discussion are Al Rasheed Compound, The Banks of Karbala, and The Future city."

UAE companies involved in the discussions include "Al Maabar, Bloom, the National Holdings, and Bonyan and Al Hanthal," the Iraqi official said. The Banks of Karbala, a US$28-billion project, will overlook Ar Razazah Lake, which is 15 km west of Karbala, according to Iraqi press reports.