President Barzani Sends Christmas Greetings

Salahaddin, Kurdistan Region of Iraq ( – On the occasion of Christmas, Kurdistan Region President Masoud Barzani sent his best wishes to Christians in Kurdistan, in Iraq, and in the world.

In his message the President said, “Now that Iraq is going through the phase of rebuilding, one of the responsibilities is to protect co-existence among the various religious and ethnic communities in the country, and this tradition should not be compromised.”

“Unfortunately, in the past few years, Christians in Iraq have become targets of violence, but we should be proud that Kurdistan has always been a refuge and a home for all different communities and it is the responsibility of all of us to preserve this co-existence.”





Hungary provides humanitarian assistance to Syrian refugees

Erbil, Kurdistan Region, Iraq ( – The Head of the KRG Department of Foreign Relations, Minister Falah Mustafa, today met with the Hungarian Ambassador to Iraq, Dr Tibor Szatmari and Ms Marta Papai, Deputy Head of Department for International Development Assistance at the Hungarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The meeting focused on the needs and situation of the Syrian refugees in Kurdistan as well as ways in which to further enhance mutual relations.

In the meeting which was also attended by the Assistant Head of the DFR, Ms Siham Jabal, Ambassador Szatmari said, ‘Hungary highly values its relationship with Kurdistan and we envision opening up a diplomatic representative office here in the near future.’

The main purpose of the Hungarian delegation’s visit was to provide the Syrian refugees in Kurdistan with humanitarian assistance and to show their commitment to alleviating the suffering that the Syrian people are facing due to the ongoing conflict there. Following the meeting, the Hungarian delegation visited the Darashakran refugee camp in Erbil to provide students with humanitarian assistance.

Minister Mustafa thanked the Hungarian people and government for this step and reiterated the importance of Hungary opening up a Consulate General in the region, as a means towards furthering cooperation between both sides in different sectors. He also referred to the importance of developing MOU’s between Hungarian universities, Chambers of Commerces' with their Kurdish counterparts to enhance sectoral cooperation.

The assistance that has been provided by the Hungarian government comes as a result of urgent appeals by Minister Mustafa to the Hungarian Ambassador for assistance to these refugees, and the DFR continues to appeal to the international community to do more to help the Syrian refugees in Kurdistan. 





Nechirvan Barzani: We lost a great advocate of democracy, tolerance and peace

Today the world lost a great political leader who valued democracy and peace more than his own lost life in prison.

It is with the greatest sorrow we learned of the passing of Nelson Mandela, a man who personified the struggle for human dignity, equality and sense of justice.

Although he did not have a chance to visit Kurdistan, he felt strongly for the Kurdish cause and made it clear on several occasions that our struggle to survive and achieve justice was a universal call.

We also felt that we had many things in common with Mandela’s vision for his country. We admired his call for forgiveness, tolerance, non-violent political solutions, and truth and reconciliation.

For us, Mandela was a great reminder that years of imprisonment and suffering can be turned into tremendous strength for the greater good of the society, human dignity and a new source of inspiration.

The most important lesson I personally learned from Mandela’s life was to recognize past injustice and focus on future improvement of human conditions.

Mandela taught us that we can transform ourselves and our societies by doing what we humanly can to avoid revenge. By doing so he changed his his own country and most political leaders’ expectations. He taught the entire world that humility combined with determination can change the course of history in a constructive way.

Although we will be missing a great unifier, Mandela's words and deeds will remain with us for generations in the human struggle to provide a better prospect for humanity.

We will miss a great advocate of democracy, tolerance and non-violence.

Nechirvan Barzani,
Prime Minister of Kurdistan Regional Government





JICA Chief Representative updates DFR on latest activities

Erbil, Kurdistan Region, Iraq – ( – The Chief Representative of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Shohei Hara, met today with the Head of the Department of Foreign Relations, Minister Falah Mustafa to discuss JICA’s new projects in the region as well as other areas of mutual interest.

The meeting was also attended by the Assistant Head of the DFR, Siham Jabali and JICA Senior Program Manager, Jalal Abdullah Sendory.

JICA is a Japanese independent government agency conducting humanitarian projects in the developing world. The agency started its operation in the Kurdistan Region by opening their office in 2009. They now, have an office in Baghdad as well.

Minister Mustafa welcomed Mr. Hara to Kurdistan and thanked him for the development projects that JICA has initiated in the Kurdistan Region. Minister Mustafa said, “JICA has been a great representative of Japan and your contribution is of great sentiment to the KRG.”

Mr. Hara briefed Minister Mustafa on the agency’s recent activities in Kurdistan. Currently JICA is financing three large projects in the field of infrastructure, two in the electricity sector and one in the water sector. Further projects are planned.

The Minister informed Mr. Hara of the Kurdistan Regions open-door policy. The KRG welcomes economic, political as well as cultural ties with all countries and would like to see a relationship with Japan flourish. “Your presence in the Kurdistan Region is important as we can mutually benefit from one another.”

Due to its security and fast growing economy, Kurdistan presents Japanese companies with endless opportunities. In return, the Region would benefit from Japans experience and their know-how.





Minister Mustafa meets with the new Ambassador of Netherlands

Erbil, Kurdistan Region, Iraq – ( – The Head of the KRG Department of Foreign Relations, Minister Falah Mustafa, today welcomed the new Ambassador of the Kingdom of Netherlands, Jeannette Seppen where they discussed a wide range of issues related to further strengthening ties between both sides.

The Assistant Head of DFR, Siham Jabali and the Head of the Dutch Embassy Liaison Office in Erbil, Jeroen Kelderhuis also attended the meeting.

Minister Mustafa congratulated Ambassador Seppen on her new post, assuring her that the KRG will continue assisting and supporting the Dutch mission in Iraq.

Ambassador Seppen was impressed by the region's development in such a short span of time, and was also pleased to have met so many different Dutch Kurds who are now contributing to society after spending large parts of their lives in the Netherlands.

Despite the progress that Kurdistan has made, Minister Mustafa stressed that the KRG strongly believes that there is a lot more that needs to be done. He asked Ambassador Seppen for support in starting cooperation between public and private institutions, in addition to educational and cultural exchange programs and human resource development cooperation.

Advancements in the private sector such as the implementation of financial institutions were also discussed and both sides agreed on the importance of strengthening institutional and private sector ties between Kurdish and Dutch companies.

Minister Mustafa also briefed Ambassador Seppen about the latest political developments in Kurdistan including the ongoing government formation process. Minister Mustafa added that the objective is to build a broad based government that is representative and works for the stability and prosperity of the region.

Canada hopes to establish strong ties with Kurdistan

Erbil, Kurdistan Region, Iraq - ( – The Head of the KRG, Department of Foreign Relations, Minister Falah Mustafa, today welcomed the non-resident Canadian Ambassador to Iraq, Bruno Saccomani, to discuss the ways in which both sides can work together more closely. This visit follows a similar visit by the Canadian Ambassador to Kurdistan this past October.

The meeting was attended by the Deputy Head of the DFR, Karwan Jamal, the Senior Trade Commissioner at the Canadian Embassy, Jean-Philippe Tachdjian and a number of other Canadian Embassy and DFR officials.

Minister Falah Mustafa welcomed Ambassador Saccomani to the region and expressed his pleasure at the level of commitment that the Canadian government is showing towards Kurdistan. He expressed his pleasure with the plans that Canada has in place towards opening their Embassy Office in the region.

Ambassador Saccomani briefed Minister Mustafa on his trip, highlighting his visit to Domiz Camp to visit the Syrian refugees there and said that his team was evaluating the needs of the refugees and spoke about Canada’s continued commitment towards assisting the Syrian refugees affected by the ongoing crisis.

The Ambassador went on to brief Minister Mustafa on the latest developments regarding the groundwork for opening their Embassy Office and expressed his hopes of this paving the way for the start of good economic relations between both sides. He went on to add that a trade delegation is expected to visit from Canada in February with Minister Mustafa welcoming these steps and expressing the full support of the KRG to the Embassy’s mission in Iraq.

Minister Mustafa thanked the Ambassador for the commitment being shown by him and his government and said, “We welcome this partnership and we will support you in any way that we can. We also thank you for your concern and interest in helping Syrian refugees here whether on camp or off camp.’

President Barzani Chairs Meeting of Syria’s Kurdish Parties

 Salahaddin, Kurdistan Region of Iraq ( – Kurdistan Region President Masoud Barzani today chaired a meeting of the Syrian Kurdish parties in an effort to help the Kurdish groups in Syria to unify their positions in the run-up to the planned Geneva II conference on Syria.

Representatives from both Democratic Union Party (PYD) and the Kurdish National Council attended today’s meeting in Salahaddin. The two parties agreed to hold a bilateral meeting on Tuesday, 17 December 2013, with the aim of unifying their position.





KRG signs agreement with Italian Society for International Organisations

Rome, Italy - ( – Minister Falah Mustafa led a senior delegation from  the Department of Foreign Relations to Itlay last week where they met Italy's Deputy Foreign Minister, visited the parliament and Minister Mustafa signed an agreement with the Italian Society for International Organisations.

The delegation consisted of the Kurdistan Regional Government's Representative to Italy Rezan Kader, the Assistant Head of the DFR Siham Jabali, advisor at the DFR Saleem Ibrahim, as well as Directors at the DFR Hoshang Mohamed, Tawfiq Rahman and Omer Rashid.

During the four-day visit, the delegation met with Deputy Foreign Minister Lapo Pistelli. Minister Mustafa thanked Mr Pistelli for the Foreign Ministry’s cooperation and said, “The KRG places great importance on its relations with Italy and would also like to thank the Representative Office in Italy and the Italian Consulate in Erbil for the role they play in strengthening our mutual relations.”

Deputy Minister Pistelli welcomed the delegation and said he was pleased at the level of development in bilateral relations highlighting the increase in the number of Italian companies working in Kurdistan. Both sides discussed the latest in Kurdish, Iraqi and regional political and security developments. The delegation also met with a number of other senior officials at the Italian Foreign Ministry.

Later during the visit, Minister Mustafa and Italy's former Foreign Minister Franco Frattini signed a memorandum of understanding between the DFR and the Italian Society for International Organisations (SIOI) which Mr Frattini now heads. The MOU was finalised and signed after Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani approved on a proposal earlier this year.

During his visit to the SIOI, Minister Mustafa spoke at a seminar attended by over 150 diplomats, professors, academics, researchers and journalists. He briefed the audience on the geopolitical influence of Kurdistan, the history of the Kurdish people, the tragedies that they have overcome, the developments since the uprising of 1991 and the future of the region.

Also in the framework of the delegation’s trip to Italy, they visited the Italian Parliament where they were received by the Vice President of the Senate, Valeria Fedeli. Minister Mustafa briefed her on the forthcoming Iraqi parliamentary elections scheduled for April 2014 and spoke about how both Kurdistan and Iraq can benefit from Italy given its history and experiences in democracy. He asked Vice President Fedeli for her support in trying to bring further international recognition of the genocide committed by the former Ba’athist regime against the Kurdish people.

The delegation also visited Perugia University, where Minister Mustafa gave a lecture and met with various officials from the university as well as local government officials. 

The delegation met with various diplomats from the international community as well as members of the business community in Italy. They also paid a visit to the Holy See at the Vatican where they met with Cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio. Minister Mustafa outlined Kurdistan's culture of compassion and co-existence and spoke about the Christian community in the region and the Syrian crisis which had resulted in close to 250,000 refugees fleeing there. 




Japan responds to KRG’s call to help Syrian refugees

Erbil, Kurdistan Region, Iraq – ( – Japan’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nobuo Kishi, and Ambassador to Iraq, Masato Takaoka, visited the Kurdistan Region this week, bringing with them humanitarian assistance to the Syrian refugees in Kurdistan.

Tehran-Erbil, from opportunity-losing to opportunity-making

Dr. Mohammed Seddigh Ahmad, the vice-representative Kurdistan Regional (KRG) in Iran, in a say printed in Etemad Press, mentioned different aspects of KRG and Islamic Republic of Iran relations. In his opinion both Iraqi Kurds and Iranian nations share many things. There many kurds know Iran (land of Arians) as their fatherland and grant it a grave place in their minds and hearts. Some of those commons are common archeology traditions, language, similar sociology ceremonies specially Eyde Noruz and . . . . several Kurds poets have composed many Persian poems, and had roles in opulence of the deep-rooted culture.

In Dr. Ahmad’s view, till Iraq Baath government downfall, Iran had been a shelter for fighters and nation of Iraqi Kurd. Iranians played a unique role in popularizing lots of cruelties imposed on kurd nation of Iraq like chemical bombing in Halabcheh and helping injuries and victims of this bitter tragedy and sheltering millions of refugees in the most tough situations of oppression, genocide and anti-human behaviors of Ba’th regime. Some of present outstanding politician personages lived in Iran for ages.

In Dr. Ahmad’s view, despite of lots of commons and aside from political and security aspects, Iranians have not taken reasonable advantages of economic and cultural areas in Kurdistan Region. In the field of economy the role of western countries, turkey, Arabian countries even far-east countries more highlighted.  In Dr. Ahmad’s view the reason is Iran’s having no strategic and outstanding perspective toward security attitude to the affair of Iraq Kurdistan as well as overly approving and concentrating on less important and negligible issues. Even so it can be said there are different opportunities for developing joints such as directing to better face with interior problems of Iraq and regional crises. Also Iranian economy corporates can act in different projects in this area. Another area is science to be considered. Exchanging scholars, students incorporating, founding Iranian Universities’ branches in Kurdistan region and cooperation between researching institutions of both sides can mentioned as well. In Dr. Ahmad’s view, for developing above-mentioned areas it is essential Iranian authorities’ security and economic attitudes toward Iraq Kurdistan change and a new one based on a trend of cooperation of multi-aspects is replaced.  









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