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French PM Fillon visits Iraq

Article published on the 2009-07-02 Latest update 2009-07-02 09:47 TU

François Fillon in Paris on Wednesday(Photo: Reuters)

François Fillon in Paris on Wednesday
(Photo: Reuters)

French Prime Minister François Fillon arrived in Baghdad on Thursday morning, accompanied by the heads of the oil company, Total, the Lafarge building materials group and the European aerospace company, EADS, and Economy Minister Christine Lagarde.

"Several agreements will be signed during this visit," according to a statement by the Prime Minister's office.

It follows a trip to France by Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki in May and French President Nicolas Sarkozy's visit to Iraq in February. At the time Sarkozy called on French companies to invest in the country.

Fillon is to meet Maliki and travel to Iraqi Kurdistan to meet Iraqi President Jalal Talabani.

France did not support the US-led invasion of Iraq and the visit comes just after US troops pulled out of the country's cities and the first oil contracts with foreign firms for four decades were signed.

As Fillon was flying to Iraq and army officer named Saddam Hussein was shot dead by gunmen in the oil hub of Kirkuk. Violence has escalated in the city recently. On Tuesday, 33 people were killed by a car bomb at a market and last month 72 were killed by a suicide bomber in a nearby town.