Iraq is negotiating with South Korea’s Hanwha Engineering and Construction Company for the resumption of the country’s largest housing project that was stalled due to payment delays, local press reports said on Thursday. 

The National Investment Commission (NIC), which awarded “Bismaya City” project to Hanwha 10 years ago, held talks with the contractor in Baghdad and more meetings are planned between the two sides, Aliqtisad News and other Iraqi publications reported. 

“The negotiations cover all disputes that led to the halt of the project in 2019…we are trying to find a legal solution that will ensure the resumption of the project at full capacity,” NIC Chairperson Suha Al-Najjar said in a statement. 

“The first day of the negotiations was characterized with a desire by the two sides to push ahead with this vital project and sort out all problems in order to complete the project according to planned schedules.” 

Hanwha has already built nearly 30,000 of the project’s 100,000 houses before it decided to stop work after it did not receive payments for 2019-2020. 

OPEC member Iraq awarded the $7.7-billion contract to Hanwha in May 2012 and work began in 2013 but was obstructed by internal hostilities. 

Located nearly 10 km southeast of the capital Baghdad, the project has an area of 18 sq km and was supposed to be completed within seven years. 

The city will accommodate nearly 600,000 people and it also comprises power and sewage networks, communications systems, roads, car parks, schools and universities, health centres and other facilities. 

(Writing by Nadim Kawach; Editing by Anoop Menon)