daban navarra

KRG Representative to Spain met with the President of Navarra Parliament

During an official visit to the Spanish Region of Navarra Daban Shadala was received by the President of the Parliament of Navarra, Alberto Catalán Higueras.

Alberto Catalán Higueras welcomed him and expressed the solidarity and support of the Navarra Parliament towards the Kurds. He said “We continue to monitor the situation in the Kurdistan Region very closely and we assure you that the people of Navarra and Spain give you their full support in your fight against global terrorism.”

In turn, Daban Shadala discussed the current situation in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq and the Middle East in general. He went on to inform Mr Catalàn of the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Kurdistan, which is providing refuge to many refugees and internally displaced persons fleeing the terror of Daesh.

They also discussed the role of Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Iran and other powers of the region in the conflict, the situation of ethnic and religious minorities, the new Iraqi government and the role it should play in defeating Daesh.

Daban Shadala thanked the President of Parliament for the support and solidarity that he and parliament had shown. He went on to say “the Kurdistan Region currently hosts over 1.5 million refugees and IDPs. The number of people is very high considering that the population of the region is just over 4.6 million. We welcome and provide shelter to Yezidi Kurds, Christians, Arabs (Shia & Sunni), Shabaks etc. – we do not discriminate.” He further went on to inform Mr Catalàn that “Kurdistan has become home for all persecuted people of Iraq, it is an island of peace and inclusion. But our resources are not sufficient to meet the basic needs of the large number of people, so we ask for the help and support of our friends abroad.”

The President of the Parliament of Navarre and the KRG Representative to Spain then visited a photography exhibition that the Red Cross had organised in the court of Parliament entitled “War From the Victims Perspective” by Jean Mohr.

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KRG Spain participates in seminar at the Univeristy of Nebrija, Madrid

Daban Shadala sat on a panel last week in the University of Nebrija to discuss “Kurdistan in front of its new Jihadist enemy”. The KRG Representative to Spain was invited to speak among other guests to a seminar entitled “The New Geography of Terrorism: A Vision from Spain” in Madrid’s Nebrija University.

The panel included Spain’s previous Ambassador to Iraq Mr Ignacio Ruperez Rubio who gave an in-depth analysis of the history of terror in Iraq, how it arrived, set roots and developed into the current form that exists. He was followed by His Excellency Mohammad Hassan Fadaifard, Iran’s Ambassador to Spain. The Ambassador discussed Iran’s role in the conflict placing specific emphasis on supporting the Iraqi government forces as well as the Peshmerga forces fighting and defending the northern front. Also sitting on the panel was Iraq’s Ambassador to Spain, His Excellency Mr Wadee Al Batti.

The KRG Representative to Spain then gave an insight into how the KRG has been dealing with its new “neighbour” since the start its Northern advance back in June. He welcomed the international efforts that have been made to support the Peshmerga who have been “fighting the terrorist group on the ground to defend the principles and way of life of the free world.” Daban Shadala however called for more international support in order to help defeat the group and to provide more humanitarian aid and finances to help ease the crisis facing those from the affected areas who have sought refuge in the Kurdistan Region. Moreover, the KRG Rep to Spain emphasised the importance for European & western countries to do more to prevent the radicalisation of youths by countering the Islamist ideology in home countries.

Professor Waleed Saled Alkhalifa who runs the Arabic and Islamic Studies department at the Autonomous University of Madrid then provided his insight into the importance and necessity of the international coalition in defeating ISIS.


Hungary opens Consulate General in Erbil and signs MoU with KRG

A high level Hungarian delegation headed by Mr István Mikola, State Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, arrived in Erbil yesterday to officially open the Consulate General of Hungary and to discuss bilateral ties with the Kurdish leadership as well as sign an MoU with the KRG.

Mr István Mikola’s delegation included Tamás Vargha, State Secretary of the Ministry of Defense: Réka Szemerkenyi, Senior International and Energy Security Advisor to Hungary’s Prime Ministry, and several other officials and business leaders.

During the two-day visit, the Hungarian delegation held meetings with Kurdistan Region President Masoud Barzani, Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani, KRG Minister for Peshmerga Affairs, Mustafa Saiyd Qadir, KRG Minister of Natural Resources, Ashti Hawrami, and the Head of Department of Foreign Relations, Minister Falah Mustafa.

At the opening of the Consulate General, Mr Mikola said, “The Government of Hungary has decided to lay a new foundation for its foreign policy. This new policy pays special attention to the countries of the Middle East, to Iraq, and within Iraq to the Kurdistan Region.”

“When many foreigners were considering leaving Kurdistan, we decided to stay and expand our presence in the Kurdistan Region. We have made the right decision because the heroic Peshmerga forces have been able to repel the ISIS attacks and to preserve the security of the Kurdistan Region,” he added.

Commending the role of the Kurdistan Region in regional stability, Mr Mikola said, “Kurdistan Region has become the leading force of the international coalition against ISIS and a safe haven for hundreds of thousands of refuges and IDPs who are fleeing ISIS barbarism.”

Mr Mikola reiterated the strong desire of the Hungarian government to further strengthen bilateral ties with the Kurdistan Region. He said, “Hungary will be your strong and reliable partner. The Consul General has got clear instructions from Hungary, he has to make every effort to broaden the bilateral relations in all fields.”

Speaking on behalf of the Kurdistan Regional Government, Minister Mustafa commended the decision of the government of Hungary to open its consulate general in Erbil. He said, “With the opening of this office, we are entering a new phase in our relations. It is a great step forward and will certainly enhance relations between the Kurdistan Region and Hungary.”

He assured the Hungarian delegation that Hungary’s mission in Kurdistan will receive full support from the KRG.

The opening ceremony was also attended by senior KRG officials as well as Hungary’s Ambassador to Baghdad, Tibor Szatmari, and Hungary’s Consul General in Erbil, Csaba Vezekenyi.

The Hungarian delegation concluded its visit to Kurdistan by signing a memorandum of understanding with the KRG. The MoU outlines areas of cooperation, including political consultation, archeology, energy, information technology, tourism, and higher education.

Hungary is the 31st nation to open a diplomatic representation in the Kurdistan Region.


Parliament of Navarra’s Commission for Coexistence and International Solidarity Declares Full Political Support to the Kurdistan Region

Yesterday the KRG Representative to Spain Daban Shadala appeared before the Commission of Coexistence and International Solidarity of the Parliament of Navarra to brief members on the latest developments in the Kurdistan region of Iraq, the refugee situation, & the ongoing violation of human rights committed by ISIS.

Daban Shadala presented a case for humanitarian assistance to the Kurdistan Region to members of the commission, which included members of all parties in the parliament: GP Unión del Pueblo Navarro, the G. P. Socialists of Navarre, the G. P. BILDU-Navarre, the G. P. Navarre aralar-Bai, the G. P. People of the Parliament of Navarra and G. P. Left-Ezkerra.

All members of the commission expressed their solidarity with the Kurdish people & their willingness to provide full political support to the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. Daban Shadala thanked the Parliament of Navarre for the support and solidarity it expressed. The Board of Spokespersons adopted unanimously on October 13th an official statement by the Parliament of Navarre denouncing the military escalation in Iraq that has threatened and continues to pose a threat to Kurdish territory.

Daban Shadala was then received by the President of the Parliament of Navarra, Alberto Catalán Higueras, who welcomed him and conveyed his solidarity and support to the Kurds: “We continue to closely monitor the situation in the Kurdistan Region and we assure you that you have the full support of the people of Navarra and Spain in your fight against global terrorism. ”

Daban Shadala in turn thanked the President of Parliament for the support and solidarity, saying that “The Kurdistan region currently hosts over 1.5 refugees and IDPs. This number of people is very high considering that the population of the region is just over 4.6 million. We are currently providing shelter to a number of minorities including Yazidi Kurds, Christians, Arabs, Shabaks, Kakai’s. Kurdistan has become a home of peace and safety for all persecuted peoples of Iraq. Our resources are insufficient to meet the basic needs of those seeking refuge, so we are asking for help from our friends around the world.”


PM Barzani: We will not hand Kurdistan Region’s oil control to SOMO

 Kurdistan Region Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani and Deputy Prime Minister Qubad Talabani talked to the press following yesterday’s Parliament session hosting the Kurdistan Region Oil and Gas Council.

Prime Minister Barzani said the Region would not hand oil control to the Iraqi State Oil Marketing Organisation, SOMO.  He noted the federal government cannot export oil from Kirkuk without involving the Kurdistan Region. He said, “We wish to settle all outstanding issues with Baghdad. However, if we do not reach agreement, the Kurdistan Regional Government has other solutions.”  The Prime Minister also affirmed that trading with the ISIS terrorist organisation is national betrayal.

He informed the press, “When the Iraqi Government stopped Kurdistan Region’s budget we were not exporting oil and their decision was unilateral. The Kurdistan Region seeks a mechanism where such situations would not reoccur”.

Prime Minister Barzani reiterated that Baghdad has not provided funds for the salaries of the Region’s civil servants since January.  He said, “With the policies we have adopted, we have so far managed to pay salaries to some extent.” He hoped the KRG could soon overcome this situation so the issue of salaries would no longer make headlines. He expressed confidence the KRG would reach that level.

Deputy Prime Minister Talabani informed the press that the United States, Britain, and the United Nations are concerned about the situation and they are exerting pressure on the Iraqi Government to honour the promises they made to the Kurdistan Region during the government formation process. The Deputy Prime Minister said, “We are in touch with these countries on a regular basis and have conveyed our concerns to the United Nations’ envoy in Iraq.”

Prime Minister Barzani said the Kurdistan Region’s priority preference is to reach agreement on issues with Baghdad, but if agreement is not possible it does not mean there are no other solutions. He said, “There are other solutions for sure, but the Region’s first preference is mutual agreement with Baghdad.”

He stated, “We hoped to see clearer initiatives from Iraq’s new prime minister and new oil minister towards resolving these issues. We still hope the issues will be settled. The Iraqi oil minister is expected to visit the Kurdistan Region, we are looking forwards to the meeting, and we will decide on the date to visit Baghdad after meeting with him.”

Prime Minister Barzani noted the Kurdistan Region could earn its full 17 percent share of national revenue by the end of 2015. He added the Kurdistan Region would meet the 11 percent share the Region was receiving from Baghdad through oil sales by March 2015. He explained that Baghdad deducts national expenses applicable to the whole country, plus expenses for running the federal government, and then sends the Region’s share from the remaining balance.

He said the Peshmerga are part of national defense and therefore they should be included in national expenses and not covered from the Region’s budget. The Prime Minister also said Peshmerga forces are currently deployed to places where defending Kurdistan Region does not require their deployment, if they were not part of Iraq’s defense system.

Regarding his meeting with the Governor of Kirkuk, Prime Minister Barzani said they are in touch regularly. He said the Governor of Kirkuk is to visit Turkey and he wanted to consider the Region’s views before his departure.

Regarding trading with the ISIS terrorist organisation, the Prime Minster said, “We view trading with ISIS as national betrayal.” He made clear the KRG would “seriously work on this issue and will hold anyone involved accountable.”

Regarding the plane that was refused permission to land in Slemani last week, Prime Minister Barzani said the plane did not have the required permission from Baghdad. The plane flew to Baghdad and there is no further information.

On the price of fuel, Prime Minister Barzani said he wished the price could be lowered but unfortunately it could not be done under the current situation.

Deputy Prime Minister Talabani informed the press that the Council of Ministers approved a bill to seek funds through borrowing and it was sent to Parliament. Following the bill’s passage into law the KRG will seek international loans.  He added that he visited the UK and UAE to seek loans from international banks as an additional income source. The Deputy Prime Minister said loan money will be used for investment on strategic projects and not for government salaries.


Prime Minister Barzani meets EU delegation

Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani on Monday received a European Union delegation headed by Mr. Hugues Mingarelli, the Managing Director for North Africa, Middle East, the Arabian Peninsula, Iran and Iraq at the European External Action Service, along with EU officials and the EU Ambassador to Iraq.

The delegation discussed the military, security and humanitarian situation in the Kurdistan Region and highlighted their aim to enhance cooperation and coordination between the Kurdistan Region and the European Union. Long-term energy cooperation was also discussed.

The delegation fully appreciates the Kurdistan Region faces very serious security challenges and is in the forefront of the fight against terrorism. The Region as host to displaced people and its role in providing humanitarian assistance were commended.  The EU delegation reiterated its support during this period of exceptional security and humanitarian need.

The EU delegation’s visit to Baghdad was also discussed noting that it urged the Iraqi Government to include all Iraqi communities in the political process, increase decentralization of political and economic authority to the regions and provinces in accordance with the Iraqi Constitution, and to resolve issues with the Kurdistan Region.

Prime Minister Barzani lauded the role of the EU in supporting the fight against terrorism and stressed requirements for more enhanced, heavy weaponry and training. Cooperation and coordination with Turkey in facilitating Iraqi Peshmerga to reinforce Kobani with heavy weapons was also discussed.

With the start of winter rains and decreasing temperatures the desperate plight of an overwhelming number of displaced people who have sought refuge in the Kurdistan Region was featured in the discussions.  Prime Minister Barzani affirmed, despite limited resources, the people and the KRG have welcomed and offered help and support to all who have been forced to leave their homes and will continue to do so.

It is noted that 20% of the more than 1.4 million displaced people in the Kurdistan Region are refugees from Syria for which more humanitarian assistance is urgently required from the international community. 80% are internally displaced persons, IDPs, from areas of Iraq outside the Kurdistan Region, including Arab Sunnis from Anbar Province adjacent to Baghdad, and Christians and Yezidis from neighboring Nineveh Province.

It is in the mutual interests of both the Kurdistan Region and the EU to develop closer relations, to improve relations with neighboring and regional countries, and to resolve outstanding issues between Erbil and Baghdad.


KRG Prime Minister’s speech at Ceremony celebrating inclusion of Erbil Citadel in World Heritage List of UNESCO

Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,

Good evening and welcome to you all.

I am happy and pleased to participate here today with you in this event. We are witnessing another success in Kurdistan, as we are seeing another important and big step by Kurdistan towards the rest of the world which is the recognition of the historical Citadel of Erbil as a World Heritage Site, enabling it to formally become part of the archeological and cultural history of the world.

The recognition and inclusion of the Erbil Citadel on the World Heritage List is a source of pride and great honour for Erbil, Kurdistan, the people of Kurdistan, Iraq and even the larger Middle East. It is an important and worthy event.

The Citadel of Erbil is a place with a long history, over 6000 years old, putting its roots in the history books. Tens of leaders, rulers, emperors and world leaders have passed by the Citadel during different periods in history. The Citadel was used as a fortress to defend Erbil and its people and helped defeat the strongest and most dangerous armies. It always remained a proud symbol in the middle of Erbil.

In recent history, a significant number of personalities and famous figuresfrom theCitadelhave served Kurdistan in various fields. The lifestyle and the culture of the Citadel became an important part of the daily live of the people, society and culture in Erbil. The Citadel has frequently been mentioned in Kurdish literature and traditional songs.

It is the right of the people of Erbil and Kurdistan to be proud of this achievement ofErbil Citadel being listed in the World Heritage List, and that it has become the property of all humanity.

On this occasion on behalf of myself, the Kurdistan Regional Government and the people of Kurdistan, I would like to extend my heartfelt gratitude and appreciation to the UNESCO and the High Commission for Erbil Citadel Revitalization specially Mr. Dara Yaqobi who heads this Commission and his colleagues who worked tirelessly to ensure the recognition of the Erbil Citadel as a World Heritage Site. I would like to also thank the Iraqi Board of Archaeology, the Iraqi Permanent Mission to UNESCO and all the countries which helped the revitalization of Citadel, Erbil Governor, the relevant authorities and those countries which voted for the Citadel of Erbil to be on the list of World Heritage Sites.

Also, by the name of the people of Kurdistan and Erbil, I would also like to warmly welcome the Director General of UNESCO Irina Bokova who ispresent today at this ceremony and who helped greatly on this issue. We thank her and welcome her to Kurdistan and Iraq.

Distinguished guests,

While we mark today an important cultural milestone and celebrate this success, we cannot not mention the situation which our country and the region pass through. We are currently confronting a vicious and dark terror. In these circumstances Kurdistan has become the front line of the international coalition’s war against terror and the brave Peshmerga of Kurdistan are fighting on behalf of the world and humanity, defending the land and people of Kurdistan and the principles of the free world. They are sacrificing their lives every day and they are now also alongside their brothers and sisters supporting Kobane where they are fighting and defending themselves together.

During these circumstances, the first condition in order for us to succeed is to ensure the national unity of all the various Kurdish political parties as well as the people of Kurdistan. The support and assistance of our friends across the world and in the region has allowed the Peshmerga to bravely fight in the battlefields with the spirit of ‘Either Kurdistan or death.’ They are making progress on a daily basis and day by day they will continue to defeat the terrorists.

To achieve greater success and defeating the terrorists the Peshmerga needs heavy weaponry, training and more assistance from our friends and the international community. Here again, I would like to thank the international coalition and all our friends who have helped us militarily or through humanitarian assistance, but we are hoping that they provide us with further assistance.

Another issue that has made the current situation difficult is the decision early this year by theIraqi federal government to cut the budget of the Kurdistan Region as well as the salaries of the KRG employees. This is a failed policy, as they used the livelihoods of the people of Kurdistan as a pressure card against the Kurdistan Regional Government becauseof political disputes. Baghdad accused the Kurdistan Region of having sold oil independently, which is far from reality. The Kurdistan Region began to export oil only after Bagdad government cut our budget, which forced the Kurdistan Regional Government to start selling its oil. However the patience of the people of Kurdistan and their endurance regarding the lack of salaries being paid on time has proven the failure of this wrong policy.  This policy along with other failed policies by Baghdad resulted in huge political, security and economic disasters across Iraq.

I would like to extend my heartfelt gratitude to the citizens, employees and people of Kurdistan and reiterate my appreciation for their patience and understanding during this economic embargo. Thanks to the businessmen, companies and contractors, whom despite the lack of budget, continued their work in the process of the reconstruction of Kurdistan, and who did not stop their operations.

Here I would like to tell the people of Kurdistan, after long efforts, the Kurdistan Regional Government is close to solving the financial crisis and in the near future, this issue will be resolved. I would like again to ensure the employees of the Kurdistan Regional Government that none of their salaries will be lost and that they will receive their complete salaries.

Distinguished guests,

We in the Kurdistan Region have preserved our national unity and formed our broad-based government, and decided jointly to participate together in the new Iraqi federal government. We reiterate that the Kurdistan Region is willing and ready to solve all the outstanding issues with Baghdad through dialogue based on a proper understanding of the reality of the disputes.

We see our participation in the new federal Iraqi government as a chance to come together to solve the outstanding issues and where we can reach a solution which is in the benefit of all Iraq and all of us. An Iraq that can learn from the previous mistakes and act in a way to save the country from the disaster that it is currently passing through.

Again I would like to welcome you all and a heartfelt congratulations to the people of Kurdistan and Erbil. Its Citadel will be a part of the culture of humanity and property of the world. I am confident that a bright future, more success and progress are ahead of us.

I would like to wish you all a pleasant evening. Thank you very much.


Daban Shadala Addressed the Commission of Human Rights, Equality & Public Participation of the Basque Parliament

This week in the Basque Parliament, the Kurdistan Regional Government Representative to Spain Daban Shadala, stood before the Commission of Human Rights, Equality & Public Participation of the Basque Parliament to put forward the needs for assistance from the Basque Regional Government with the ongoing humanitarian disaster facing the Kurdistan Region. This follows a recent motion that was passed in the Basque Parliament which specifically highlighted that the Basque Regional Government must respond to calls from the KRG for humanitarian aid and assistance._88Y9039

The President of the commission, Maribel Vaquero Montero, opened the way for Daban Shadala to deliver his presentation on ISIS, its growth, organisation, funding and the ensuing humanitarian disaster facing the people of the region. Daban Shadala informed members of the commission of what the KRG needed in order to continue to support the large numbers of refugees and IDPs in the Kurdistan Region, and what those people specifically needed. The commission was told that “humanitarian aid and assistance from the Basque Regional Government to the Kurdistan Region is essential in order to provide the affected people with their basic needs and to relieve some of the pressure off the KRG” which has not received its budget share from the Federal Government of Iraq since March. He went on to state that “we are struggling in our efforts, as we lack the resources and financial capability to deal with over 1.8 million refugees and IDPs.” The KRG is currently working very hard to ensure that the affected people are receiving the essentials and “the assistance from the Basque Government would improve the situation greatly”, he went on to say. The KRG Representative also highlighted the human rights abuses that ISIS are committing in the territory which they control targeted especially against non-Muslim minorities.

The commission is made up of five parliamentary groups which include: EA-NV (Basque Nationalists), EH Bildu, SV-ES (Basque Socialists), PP-ETP (Basque Poplar Group), and Mixto-UPyD. All parties expressed their solidarity with the Kurdish people of both the Kurdistan Region of Iraq and Rojava, expressing their gratitude to those Peshmergas who are defending the world from the barbarity of ISIS. They also strongly condemned the terrorist group and the atrocities it has committed. The KRG Spain Office will now begin coordinating the technical details with the Basque Regional Government for the delivery of the aid to Kurdistan. The Spanish government has already sent €500,000 worth of humanitarian aid to the Kurdistan Region to help ease the situation and provide the essentials to the affected people.


KRG Council of Ministers regular meeting discusses international bank loans and need for a new higher education policy

 The KRG Council of Ministers yesterday held its regular meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani. As well as covering participation in the federal Iraqi government and the situation in Kobane, the meeting also discussed the need to review higher education policies and a draft law on international bank loans to the KRG.

The Prime Minister shed light on the work and activities of this past week, notably the Kurdistan Region’s participation in the federal Iraqi government and the inclusion of the Kurdistan ministers. He expressed his particular gratitude to the Kurdistan Islamic Group party and its leader Ali Bapir, who showed great flexibility during the talks in order to preserve national unity. Prime Minister Barzani also said that the KRG’s policy is to resolve outstanding issues with Baghdad via dialogue, and that it will support Iraq’s Prime Minister Abadi to ensure those problems are solved. A delegation from the Kurdistan Region is planning to visit Baghdad to address the outstanding issues.

Regarding the war against terror and the situation in Kobane, the Prime Minister said that the KRG is monitoring the situation closely and will do what it can to help. Despite the geographical difficulties, there are still ways in which the KRG can help, and progress is being made in the KRG’s dialogue with the US and Turkey to urge them to provide assistance. Ten thousand Kurds from Kobane have arrived at the camps in the Kurdistan Region.

Deputy Prime Minister Qubad Talabani commended Prime Minister Barzani’s role in uniting all the Kurdish parties and reaching a final agreement regarding the Kurdistan Region’s involvement in the new Iraqi federal government. Mr Talabani thanked the Prime Minister for his efforts on behalf of the Council of Ministers.

Mr Yousif Mohammad, the KRG Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, presented a special report on the obstacles to accepting students in universities and institutions in the Kurdistan Region for the academic year 2014-2015. The proportion of graduates from high school far exceeds the available places in universities and institutions which has led to a large number of students being denied access. He called for a plan to identify the areas in which Kurdistan needs help.

The Prime Minister stressed that basic and higher education must have underlying objectives, and unfortunately the aim of most students is to seek employment in the public sector which is detrimental to the economy and society. Prime Minister Barzani added that the philosophy that everyone should graduate is not true and does not exist anywhere else in the world.

Prime Minister Barzani said that the majority of jobs and professions are neglected in the Kurdistan Region, because everyone wants to graduate from university and no one is willing to work in technical or service positions. A long-term basic and higher education strategy is therefore required to determine the needs of the Region, so that education programs and admissions plans can be prepared accordingly. The Council of Ministers therefore decided to set up a board to draw up a new education philosophy and policy. The ministers shared their views on the issue as well.

Deputy Prime Minister Talabani discussed a draft law on “Borrowing money through loans to the Kurdistan Region – Iraq”. He clarified the process of borrowing international funds and explained that the KRG has examined the legal procedures with related international bodies and studied the authority and legal and constitutional permissions for borrowing loans from international lenders. He said that the KRG has come to the conclusion that it has the right to receive international loans.

The Deputy Prime Minister shed light on the legal procedures and the loan amount that the KRG can borrow from international banks. Several ministers presented their views and notes on the draft law, which will be taken into consideration and the necessary amendments made prior to Council of Ministers approval and its reading by the Kurdistan Parliament.


Prime Minister Barzani and Spain’s ambassador discuss fight against ISIS

Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani on Thursday received Jose Maria Ferri, Spain’s Ambassador to Iraq, on his first visit to the Kurdistan Region.

Ambassador Ferri said that he was saddened by the current unstable security situation, but added that despite the deterioration in most parts of Iraq, Erbil enjoys peace, security and stability which he witnessed during his stay in the city. He commended the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) for maintaining security and stability.

The meeting covered the current situation in Iraq, security in Baghdad and other areas, and the threats from the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) terrorists in the region. With regards to Spain playing a role in the international coalition against terror and the importance of the Peshmerga forces’ fight against ISIS, Ambassador Ferri said that the Spanish parliament is due to convene a special session on this issue. He conveyed Spain’s support for the Kurdistan Region and Iraq in their fight against terror.

Both sides called for closer political and economic relations, Prime Minister Barzani saying that Kurdistan values its relations with Spain and hopes that Spain will play a role in the fight against terror and help the Kurdistan Region to assist the displaced and refugees. The Spanish ambassador stressed improving economic and political ties and encouraging Spanish companies and investors to come to Kurdistan.

Prime Minister Barzani and Ambassador Ferri also discussed the future of Iraq, and the importance to the political process of the Kurdistan Region participating in Iraq’s new government.