Erbil, Kurdistan Region, Iraq, (gov.krd) – A Kurdistan Regional Government delegation, headed by Prime Minister, Nechirvan Barzani, was received yesterday by His Holiness Pope Francis in the Vatican.
The current situation in the Kurdistan Region, Iraq and the wider Middle East was discussed, focusing on the latest developments in the war against the Islamic State terrorist organisation, known as ISIS and the importance of the international coalition against terrorism.
The two sides reaffirmed that ISIS is a threat not only to Kurdistan, Iraq and the Middle East but to humanity as a whole.
Prime Minister Barzani briefed His Holiness about the situation of over 1.4 million Iraqi internally displaced people and Syrian refugees, most of whom had fled the violent repression of ISIS and took refuge in the Kurdistan Region. They belong to various ethnic and religious groups from Nineveh Plain, Sinjar and other areas of Kurdistan and Iraq where they used to coexist peacefully, but tragically have been forced to flee their homes leaving behind their belongings.
The Prime Minister reiterated that the people and government of the Kurdistan Region have been, since their arrival, providing aid and assistance to these refugees and displaced persons.
He pointed out that the presence of this large number of refugees and IDPs in the Kurdistan Region has created a heavy burden for the Kurdistan Regional Government. He called on His Holiness to encourage donor countries and the international community to increase their humanitarian assistance.
His Holiness the Pope expressed his thanks and gratitude to the Kurdistan Regional Government for accommodating and providing assistance to the displaced Iraqis and refugees from Syria.
He commended the coexistence between various ethnic and religious groups who have been living peacefully in Kurdistan for centuries. His Holiness also praised Kurdistan Region’s role in the fight against terrorism for the sake of protecting the people of the region, who deserve respect and appreciation.
Prime Minister Barzani was accompanied by Deputy Prime Minister, Qubad Talabani, Minister of Endowments and Religious Affairs, Kamal Muslim, Head of the Department of Foreign Relations, Minister Falah Mustafa, KRG spokesperson, Minister Safeen Dizayee and the KRG Representative to Italy Ms. Rezan Hama Salih.