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.