October 5, 2017 / 8:49 AM / a year ago

Iraqi PM meets with CEOs of Total and Thales during visit to Paris

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - During a visit to Paris Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has met with the heads of French oil company Total (TOTF.PA) and defence contractor Thales (TCFP.PA), his office said in a statement on Thursday.

A still image taken from a video shows Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi speaking as he makes a statement in Baghdad, Iraq September 24, 2017. REUTERS/via Reuters TV

The statement said that in the meeting with Total Chief Executive Patrick Pouyanné, “expressed his desire to expand oil and gas investments in Iraq”, adding that Total wanted to deal with the federal government.

The central government in Baghdad has imposed travel and financial sanctions on the Kurdish region of northern Iraq following last month’s vote for independence, which Baghdad said was unconstitutional.

Abadi flew to Paris on Wednesday for a two-day visit in response to an invitation from French President Emmanuel Macron.

Abadi also met with representatives of Thales, including Chief Executive Patrice Caine, for talks on matters that included arming and equipping Iraqi security forces to help them in the fight against Islamist militants, the statement said.

Iraqi forces, pushing ahead with a campaign against Islamic State, have captured the town of Hawija and the surrounding areas, the militants’ last stronghold in northern Iraq. But the militants still control a stretch alongside the country’s western border with Syria.

Writing by Sami Aboudi; Editing by Greg Mahlich

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