Mandelson led the first British business delegation to Iraq in over 20 years in an attempt to underscore the huge deal-making potential of the country.
With a population of over 200 million people, Iraq has the third largest reserves of oil in the world, fertile agricultural land, and a skilled and educated work force.
Giants of British business joined the delegation, including: BP; Shell; HSBC; Glaxosmithkline; Rolls Royce; and oil services firm the Wood Group.
“There is a welcome mat out for British business,” said Mandelson yesterday. “If I received any complaint today from the Prime Minister downwards, it is that we are not seizing the opportunities fast enough.”
But his attempts to encourage UK entrepreneurs and corporates to “bring jobs and prosperity to the Iraqi people” were undermined by the co-ordinated string of attacks. According to BBC reports, 34 people were killed and 110 were wounded.
Mandelson’s message of “peace and growing prosperity for the Iraqi people” was badly timed.
That “welcome mat” doesn’t look too friendly.
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