Monday, 21 April 2014 04:30

Erbil, Kurdistan Region, Iraq – ( – The Head of the Department of Foreign Relations (DFR), Minister Falah Mustafa met today with the Slovakian Ambassador to Iraq, Mr. Miloslav Nad to discuss furthering bilateral relations between the Slovak Republic and Kurdistan.

The meeting was also attended by the Assistant Head of the DFR, Ms. Siham Jabali and the Honorary Consul of the Slovak Republic, Mr. Ahmed Gerdi.

Ambassador Nad was pleased to be in Kurdistan and commended the KRG on its efforts in developing the region, and added his country’s desire to bolster bilateral relations across many sectors.

He spoke about Slovakian efforts to grant visas to the people of Kurdistan through the office of a partner country in Erbil by the end of this year. In addition, he informed the Minister of his government’s willingness to upgrade their diplomatic representation in Kurdistan in the near future.

Minister Mustafa welcomed the Ambassador’s visit and reiterated the KRG’s willingness to consolidate its relations with Central and Eastern Europe and stated “we can learn and benefit from the expertise of countries such as Slovakia in various fields.”

The Minister went on to brief the delegation on the developments between Erbil and Baghdad, highlighting that the upcoming parliamentary elections in Iraq and the provincial elections in Kurdistan, scheduled to take place in less than two weeks, which would define the future political landscape of the country. He added that the KRG is committed to the Iraqi Constitution, a democratic system and genuine partnership.

Finally, both sides discussed the upcoming Global Security Forum (GLOBSEC 2014) scheduled for May in Bratislava, to which Minister Mustafa has been invited. Minister Mustafa’s attendance will help boost KRG’s engagement with Central and Eastern Europe - consolidating relations with the EU member states goes in line with the KRG's open door policy.





Monday, 17 March 2014 03:30

Erbil, Kurdistan Region, Iraq – ( – The Head of the Department of Foreign Relations (DFR), Minister Falah Mustafa, welcomed the Deputy Head of Mission to the Dutch Embassy in Iraq, Gerard Lucius, to discuss ways of further strengthening mutual relations as well as the latest political and security developments in Kurdistan and Iraq. The meeting was also attended by the Assistant Head of the DFR, Siham Jabali.

Minister Mustafa highlighted the importance that the Kurdistan Regional Government places in reaching out to the international community and strengthening relations with countries around the world. This includes the strengthening of relations with the Netherlands, which historically opened their doors to large numbers of Kurdish people who had to flee during the times of the former Baathist regime.

Despite being satisfied with the level of relations between both sides, Minister Mustafa conveyed his hopes to the Deputy Head of Mission that the Netherlands will upgrade their diplomatic representation in Kurdistan to a Consulate General, as this well help increase economic, political and cultural cooperation. In addition he hoped that the Dutch Government would begin consular services which would include the issuance of visas.

Describing Kurdistan’s progress, Minister Mustafa added that the Kurdistan Region has a lot of opportunities for work and investment, adding that the Dutch Government can take advantage of these opportunities by promoting and encouraging Dutch companies to participate in the process of reconstruction and development in Kurdistan.

Both sides went on to discuss the latest developments regarding relations between Baghdad and Erbil, the deteriorating security situation in the Anbar province and the upcoming Iraqi parliamentary elections scheduled for the 30th April of next month, which Minister Mustafa said he hoped would be held on time and with no delay.

In terms of the Syrian crisis, Minister Mustafa expressed his hope that the international community and the Dutch Government would provide further assistance for the over quarter of a million refugees that have fled Syria and currently live in Kurdistan. In addition to these refugees, the Head of the DFR added that over 30,000 people have fled Anbar to Kurdistan because of the ongoing violence adding to the large numbers of internally displaced people who have sought refuge in Kurdistan from the rest of Iraq.

Monday, 17 March 2014 12:30

Erbil, Kurdistan Region, Iraq - ( – A delegation from the UK Export Finance Department visited the DFR to discuss opportunities for building further relations with Kurdistan in various fields of infrastructure and investment.

The UK delegation was led by Steve Dodgson, the Business Group Director of UK Export Finance and included the British Consul General, Hugh Evans and a team of UK Export Finance which included Mr. Paul Radford, Mr. Max Griffen, and Mr. Tahir Ahmed. The Assistant Head of the DFR, Siham Jabali and other senior DFR officials also attended the meeting.

Mr. Dodgson expressed UK Export Finance’s willingness to start their activities in the Kurdistan Region and stated that Kurdistan will be a new market for them. He added that this visit is a fact finding mission which should provide them with a better understanding of Kurdistan and the way it operates.

The Head of the DFR, Minister Falah Mustafa, highlighted the importance of foreign investment and in ensuring the continued development of Kurdistan. He reiterated that the United Kingdom was Kurdistan’s partner of choice and hoped that UK Export Finance Department would find suitable opportunities here in Kurdistan.

Speaking about the KRG’s shift towards seeking quality over quantity, Minister Mustafa said, ‘We want to provide our people with the best services and UK Export Finance can play a significant role in assuring that companies succeed in their mission in Kurdistan.’

Minister Mustafa highlighted that the KRG has prioritized three sectors for development which are agriculture, industry and tourism, in addition to the importance of building up the energy and infrastructure sectors.

Finally, they discussed the importance of the environment and both sides agreed that in order to create a long term and successful infrastructure, the environment needed to be preserved.

Commenting on the visit, the British Consul General said, ‘The fact that this is a senior delegation visiting from the UK Export Finance Department underscores the level of commitment from the UK towards enhancing relations with Kurdistan.’

The UK Export Finance is an export credit agency, helping exporters and investors by providing credit insurance policies, political risk insurance on overseas investments and guarantees on bank loans.

During their visit to Kurdistan, Mr. Dodgson and his accompanying delegation met with a number of KRG officials to set the groundwork for future cooperation. 





Friday, 07 March 2014 14:00

Erbil, Kurdistan Region, Iraq – ( – Today, the Korean Ambassador to Iraq, Heyon Meyong Kim, met with the Head of the KRG Department of Foreign Relations (DFR), Minister Falah Mustafa and the Assistant Head of the DFR, Ms Siham Jabali as part of his farewell visit to Kurdistan as his two year tenure in Iraq concludes.

Ambassador Meyong Kim and Minister Falah Mustafa spoke about the history of their nations to which the ambassador stated that in his two years as ambassador to Iraq, he has learned a lot about the Kurdistan region, the Kurdish culture and the people. He went on to praise Kurdistan’s rapid development and drew parallels between Korea and the Kurdistan Region. He praised the Kurdish leadership for their vision which has helped pave the way for this economic development and progress in the region.

Minister Mustafa informed him of the history of oppression in Kurdistan and said “we have come a long way but we are still facing many challenges and we can learn lessons from your experience and your history.” He went on to say that “Kurdistan is based on a culture of hope and optimism.’

Earlier in the day the Korean Ambassador, along with other foreign diplomats, had attended a ceremony where the remains of 93 Barzanis who lost their lives during the Anfal were returned to Kurdistan to be reburied in Barzan. The Ambassador had been very moved at the event.

Both sides discussed Turkey – KRG relations as well as KRG relations with Baghdad to which Minister Mustafa stated, “for peace and cooperation you need partners.”

They went on to discuss ways of enhancing bilateral ties between Korea and Kurdistan through cultural exchange programs and the continuity of capacity building programs by the Korean International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) in Kurdistan.

On that note, Ambassador Meyong Kim informed Minister Mustafa on future programs initiated by The Korean Transport Institute (KOTI), a Korean think tank for transport and logistics. KOTI intends to work with the KRG Ministry of Planning to help further develop the Kurdistan region.

During his visit to Kurdistan, the Ambassador met with the KRG Prime Minister, Nechirvan Barazani and attended the Second annual Sulaimani Forum hosted by the American University of Iraq – Sulaimani on the 4th and 5th of March.

Ambassador Heyon Meyong Kim will be returning to Seoul to resume work at the Korean Foreign Ministry in order to prepare for his next posting as the Consul General in Los Angeles, USA later this year.








Sunday, 16 February 2014 07:00




Erbil, Kurdistan ( – The Head of the KRG Department of Foreign Relations, Minister Falah Mustafa, and the Assistant Head of the DFR, Ms Siham Jabali, welcomed the new UNHCR Coordinator for Kurdistan, Mr Emmanuel Gignac, who arrived in the region last month to begin his mission.

Minister Mustafa welcomed Mr Gignac and congratulated him on his new post, emphasizing the KRG commitment towards strengthening relations with the UNCHR in order to help better assist the refugees from Syria in addition to the internally displaced persons who have arrived in Kurdistan fleeing from the violence in Anbar. He added, “I welcome you to the region and the DFR is ready to help and assist you in any way possible to succeed in your mission.”

The UNHCR Coordinator briefed Minister Mustafa on his activities since arriving in Kurdistan which included visits to three governorates as well as the majority of the refugee camps in the region. He said, ‘There are a lot of challenges here but we appreciate the support that we get from the KRG which has been remarkable. There is a genuine commitment by the authorities here to help the Syrian refugees.’

Minister Mustafa praised the role that the UNHCR is playing and said that the KRG remembers the role they have played in the region from 1991 when their presence acted as a crucial deterrent to attacks from Saddam’s regime. He added, ‘We in the KRG have always looked at the UN as an important partner. We should look at areas where the UNHCR and other sister agencies can help.’

Both sides discussed the challenges and needs of the Syrian refugees living in Kurdistan and discussed various initiatives and ways in which the KRG and UNHCR can work better together. In addition they discussed ways of sending humanitarian assistance into Syria too via Kurdistan as was done towards the end of last year.








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