Fifteen years after the war in Iraq, Matthew visited Baghdad as part of a Parliamentary delegation to see how the international community is continuing its work to construct a free country. Recent years has seen the emergence of Daesh which has exported its horrific form of terrorism to the conflict in Syria. Now that Daesh has lost over 98% of the territory it invaded in Iraq, a second post-conflict reconstruction is taking place. The city of Mosul has over 100 million tonnes of explosive contaminated rubble which needs to be sifted and made safe. As Chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Explosive Weapons, Matthew took the opportunity to meet with the Mine Advisory Group (MAG) and discuss how the organisation engages in the education of children in identifying explosive ordnance.
Meetings were also held with Fuad Masum the President of the country, the Speaker of the Iraq Parliament and Iraqi Members of Parliament, the International Committee on Missing Persons, Department for International Development, the United Nations and the British Council. The visit came as the international community attended the Kuwait Conference which was being held to discuss reconstruction assistance for Iraq following the war with Daesh.
Matthew said: "Whatever the rights or wrongs of the decision to invade Iraq, I believe that the world has a responsibility to help rebuild Iraq. In May the country will go to the ballot box for the fourth general election since 2003. The Iraqi Prime Minister has launched an online appeal for allies to join his list of candidates. The direct appeal, which requires any prospective candidate to collect 500 signatures of support, bypasses Iraq’s traditional route of selection by political parties, clans or tribes and is a real achievement in increasing democratic representation. There is still a huge distance for the country to travel but it is making clear strides and I will continue to support the initiatives of the British Government."