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KRG aspires to boost diplomatic ties with foreign states

Kurdistan Region Prime Minister Masrour Barzani attended the 2023 World Countries Summit and met dignitaries with global economic and political caliber. He expressed his eagerness in developing relations and finding a market for domestic agricultural products.

In Paris, PM Barzani was received by the French President and other prominent officials. He conveyed the KRG’s enthusiasm to boost ties with France and encourage entrepreneurs to invest in Kurdistan.

Speaking on the Prime Minister’s two recent visits and his efforts for improving foreign ties, Safeen Dizayee, KRG’s Head of the Department of Foreign Relations, told the official website of the KRG: “It was the tenth assembly of the United Arab Emirate’s World Countries Summit attended by the Prime Minister, where foreign leaders and influential people exchange their economic and political experiences. Kurdistan had been invited to the summit in the past several years as well.”

“The United Arab Emirates had officially invited the Prime Minister of Kurdistan to this year’s summit. Concurrent to this gathering, he held meetings with Emirati leaders, as well as global entrepreneurs and companies. The discussions focused on the latest developments in Kurdistan, KRG’s relations with Iraq and foreign states, economic development, food security protection, and developing food production, which is a significant issue for the Emirates.”

“These countries can assist the Kurdistan Region in learning how to invest in and improve food production, as Kurdistan has been exporting agricultural products, especially fruits, to the Gulf countries. There is room to diversify and increase importation. Emiratis are willing to invest in Kurdistan’s organic products. Moreover, political discussions occurred with several Emiratis, foreign leaders and politicians.”

The Prime Minister was officially invited to France

On the Prime Minister’s visit to France, Dizayee explained: “The Prime Minister received a formal invitation from the President of France, Emmanuel Macron. As we know, Iraq and the Kurdistan Region hold significant positions in their relations with France. Kurdistan’s historic ties with France dates back to the sixties. During the 1980s, France offered enormous humanitarian support to the Kurdish people, especially by Ms. Danielle Mitterrand. Additionally, France played an important role in promoting stability in Kurdistan after the 1991 Kurdish migration. France supported Kurdistan in its foreign relations; it can also play a positive role in Erbil-Baghdad relations. We have seen this positive role from France more recent times on 16 October 2017, after Baghdad’s military attacks and subsequent sanctions on Kurdistan. France invited the then Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani and tried to de-escalate the situation and resolve the problems. Today, France wants to play a key role in Iraq; the recent negotiation between Erbil and Baghdad was also facilitated by France.”

“Apart from discussions of the mutual relations of Kurdistan and France, it is vital to emphasize that France played an important role as a part of coalition forces in the war against ISIS. The threat of the reemergence of ISIS, evaluating the current situation and latest developments in Kurdistan were also among the issues discussed with President Macron.
A meeting was also held with the French Senate, where they discussed the latest issues and obstacles hindering the Kurdistan Region, as well as France’s support to Kurdistan. The role of the Kurdistan region was appreciated in protecting the rights of different entities.
The third meeting was with the Mayor of Paris; the relations between Erbil and Paris were discussed, as we know the two cities are sisters.
The final meeting was with several companies and French investors at a center dedicated to French investment. The Prime Minister briefly highlighted the opportunities which French investors would find in Kurdistan and they mutually agreed to send a delegation in the future to elaborate on the opportunities. Such visits are important for Kurdistan and we are pleased that Kurdish leaders are receiving guests of such high caliber.”

The French Senate’s support to Kurdistan

The KRG’s Head of the Department of Foreign Relations added: “No doubt, in democracies when a government wants to pass a law, it needs the support of the legal institutions. Previously, sending forces to Iraq and Kurdistan transpired with the support of legal institutions. Therefore, if we, as the Kurdistan government could have this legal support, it is equally important for their own country’s plan. We need support for our plan to work on recognizing the Ezidi genocide. Therefore, the Senate’s support is highly consequential to us."

Exporting Kurdistan’s products

Regarding permission to send local products abroad, Mr. Dizayee explained: “We want to diversify the economy and follow a food security protection policy, especially with organic foods. A great deal of competition exists among countries on the export of food products. Some of them have been produced rapidly. But organic products are better; the size of the production might be limited, but the price and the demand for those products are higher. Therefore, we have been trying to export organic foods, because there was a great market for Kurdistan's organic Pomegranates in the gulf countries. We asked France to help us with the permission of exporting our domestic products to the EU markets. They have their own standard and as soon as we are able to follow France’s safety and quality standards, we will be able to send our products to the European markets. There is a special office within the Prime Minister’s administration dealing with this issue in Kurdistan, and we are asking the foreign countries for their assistance.”  

Where is the diplomatic status of the Kurdistan Region?

Speaking on the diplomatic relations of the KRG, Mr. Dizayee said: “The Kurdistan Region’s diplomacy is at a satisfactory level, but we intend to improve it and have more goals. Until 1991, despite all the tragedies faced by Kurdish people, the world was silent because of their own interests. From 1991 to 2003, Iraq’s circumstances were dire due to the sanctions. It was only after 2003 that the Kurdistan Region began pursuing the constitutional right to build mutual relations with other countries. We want to compensate for the past and increase our offices of representation and diplomats around the world. The Kurdistan region’s leaders have already been received at a high diplomatic level in the US, Germany, Uk, The Vatican, France, Turkey, Canada etc. Meanwhile, the Prime Minister’s attendance in international gatherings such as the ones in the Emirates, France and Germany in Munich are an indication that our leaders have been received with respect and dignity. But we aim to increase the diplomatic level of our offices of representation to a higher level, around the world.”