France is ready to rebuild Mosul Airport

Ninewa, 2014- Mosul airport ahead of ISIS takeover in 2014. KirkukNow

By KirkukNow

Ambassador of France to Iraq said that France is ready to rebuild and renovate Mosul Airport once the obstacles are eased.

Éric Chevallier paid a visit to Mosul on Monday where he met with governor of Ninewa Najim al-Jibouri, discussed reconstruction process and mutual cooperation on September 28th.

Chevallier said France is interested in implementing projects in Mosul and all over Ninewa province including reconstruction and renovation of Mosul airport “a vital project for the city which the locals eagerly wait for.”

“The funds are ready and the French companies which proposed its bids to Iraqi government are ready. Once I am back to Baghdad, I will have meetings with Iraqi officials to put the final touches for this project,” Chevallier said in a joint press conference with the governor.

When the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria took over Mosul and large swathes of Iraq, it has taken Mosul Airport as a base till 2017 when the Iraqi government declared defeat of IS.

End of August, president of France Emmanuel Macron paid a visit to Mosul, following Baghdad regional summit, where he met bishops in Immaculate Church of Mosul and al-Nouri Grand Mosque both destructed by the extremist militants of IS.

The ambassador said the trip is a confirmation of the attention France pays to Mosul and Ninewa in general.

France has pledged a 300-million-Euro loan to Iraq for the rebuilding of Mosul Airport on the condition that French companies to implement the project.

Mosul Airport was built in 1920 under the British mandate of Iraq as a military airport and was turned into a civil airport under civil aviation authority in 1922.

The United Nations U.N. has estimated over 8,000 houses were destroyed in Mosul by the airstrikes aimed at IS root out. The nine-month operation left at least 9,000 dead, AP says.

Back in 2014, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria ISIS had proclaimed its caliphate. Three years later, Iraqi forces backed by a U.S.-led coalition liberated the city in a fierce battle took lives of thousands and left Mosul in particular and the whole province of Ninewa in ruins

Governor of Ninewa called on the Iraqi government to take the fund from France or release blocked funds of Ninewa in order to launch the reconstruction process in 2021.

“We want to get the fund within this year and not to be delayed for next year,” al-Jibouri said.

Al-Jibouri said France played a big role in the war against ISIS and reconstruction of Mosul though the universities, Shingal hospital & operation rooms for other several hospitals. “We hope France loan to rebuild Mosul airport to be agreed upon soon.”

The slow path of reconstruction made the local residents hopeless. Covid-19 pandemic diverted the priorities of the government and consequently its funds from reconstruction toward prevention.

The diversity of the population led to fraction among the Mosulawi community post ISIS as Baghdad, Erbil and other sides compete to establish their rule via armed forces. Dominance of militias and lack of stability led to slow rebuilding.

Back in 2015, ISIS militants have dug 22 trenches, each two meters deep and 10 meters wide, with 100meter distance between each trench in order to ban aircraft landing, a matter hindered the reconstruction process.

KirkukNow in a previous story found out that ISIS and the fight aginst it has caused 100% damage to airport traffic towers and some other departments, 25% to the runway and 5% aircraft stands and ramps.

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