President Nechirvan Barzani: Germany attaches importance to its relations with Iraq and the Kurdistan Region

Berlin, Germany, June 26, 2023

The following is a readout of President Nechirvan Barzani’s remarks to reporters after his meeting with Chancellor Olaf Scholz:

“Our visit to Berlin was at the invitation of His Excellency the Chancellor of Germany. We had a good meeting this evening, in which we discussed matters of mutual interest between the Kurdistan Region and Germany, and the relations between Iraq and Germany. What we feel is that Berlin and His Excellency the Chancellor attach importance to developing these relations with Iraq, and with the Kurdistan Region within the framework of Iraq.

“In this meeting, we discussed topics that were of interest to both of us. The topics were mostly how to develop our economic and political relations. We asked him to visit Iraq and the Kurdistan Region, as we felt that they attache great importance to their relations with Iraq and the Kurdistan Region.”

The President also answered questions from the journalists.

Question: “To what extent, does the central government support the relations of the Kurdistan Region with other countries of the world?”

The President: “Indeed, before our visit to Berlin, we coordinated with the Prime Minister of Iraq and with Baghdad, and in all the meetings we have had here today, our (Iraqi) ambassador has participated in all the meetings with us, and we have spoken as one team. I’ve genuinely not seen Baghdad create any problems for these meetings of the Kurdistan Region with any parties.”

When asked another question about the situation in the Kurdistan Region and about Baghdad’s efforts to reduce the Kurdistan Region’s position and export of the Kurdistan Region’s oil, the President said:

“The relations between the KDP and the PUK are not extremely bad. The relations are bad, but not terrible. As we speak here today, the KDP and the PUK have held a meeting (in Erbil) and we hope that these meetings will continue so that we can achieve a result. Indeed, the Kurdistan Region’s position abroad, as well as in Iraq and Baghdad, will be stronger. All the efforts are within the framework of reaching an agreement with the PUK. The issue of oil in the Kurdistan Region is a matter that partly has to do with Baghdad and partly has to do with Turkey. Unfortunately, so far, we have not seen the necessary steps taken by Baghdad to export oil again.”

Regarding the increase of cooperation of Germany with the Peshmerga and the reconstruction of Shingal, the President said:

“In this meeting with H.E. the German Chancellor, we thanked Germany’s stance as they have supported the Kurdistan Region through hardships; militarily, economically and through humanitarian aid. Today, the German Chancellor reiterated that he finds it important to support Iraq and the Kurdistan Region in all aspects. What we understood today is that indeed, the support will continue.”

In response to a question about Germany attaching importance to the Kurdistan Region, especially since, at the end of this year, the timeframe of the deployment of German forces in Iraq and the Kurdistan Region will come to an end, the President said:

“We did not really discuss this issue, but as you are aware, the German Parliament extended the troop deployment of the German forces. Today, we talked with H.E. the Chancellor and reiterated that ISIS remains a danger to Iraq, and that Iraq still needs international support in this regards.”

Regarding the Kurdistan Region’s position toward the presence of US forces in Iraq, and the Kurdistan Region’s relations with Turkey after the elections in the country, the President said:

“The question of the presence of the United States is within the framework of an agreement that was made with Iraq and not outside of that agreement. There is a strategic agreement between Iraq and the United States and in this framework, American forces are present in Iraq. Our position and Baghdad’s position is that we still need international cooperation and, in this context, the United States is in Iraq as an ally force, and all the parties of Iraq agree that this cooperation should continue. As for Turkey, in the past and present, our relations with Turkey have been good, and we hope that the relations between Iraq and Turkey will improve gradually.”

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