Prime Minister Visit to Europe
Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Prime Minister Nechirvan
Barzani began his visit to Europe with a stop in Ankara, Turkey,
where he had a meeting with the Deputy Foreign Minister on October
21. The two discussed the current situation in the region as
well as relations between Turkey and the Kurdistan Democratic
Party (KDP) during their cordial meeting.
From Turkey, he travelled to Sweden, where Mr. Barzani met
with high-level Swedish government officials. The Prime Minister
of Sweden, Mr. Goran Persson, received the Prime Minister and
his accompanying delegation at the Parliament Building on October
25. During the welcoming ceremony, the Swedish Prime Minister
expressed his pleasure to be receiving this important delegation
from Kurdistan and his interest in hearing about the latest
political developments and current events in Iraqi Kurdistan.
The KRG Prime Minister gave an overview of the situation in
the region and the democratic experiment in Kurdistan. He stressed
the importance of international support and backing for the
democratic experiment in Kurdistan. The Swedish Prime Minister
promised Prime Minister Barzani that Sweden would continue to
assist the people of Kurdistan and continue backing the Kurdish
experiment through the United Nations.
That evening, the KRG Nordic Representative hosted a reception
in honor of the visiting delegation attended by foreign mission
representatives, Swedish Foreign Ministry officials, Swedish
Members of Parliament, academics, and members of the local Kurdish
and Assyrian communities.
On October 26, Prime Minister Barzani and his delegation met
with Ms. Anna Lindh, Foreign Minister of Sweden, and her team.
Mr. Barzani raised a number of issues including sanctions on
Iraq, the Oil-for-Food program, and the development of democratic
institutions in Kurdistan. He praised Ms. Lindh for her stand
and valuable comments in the Swedish Parliament in May this
year. The KRG PM also touched on the peace process and the Washington
Agreement as well as the causes of migration. During the talks,
Mr. Barzani also remarked on the excellent work being done by
the Swedish NGOs, Diaconia and Qandil.
The Swedish Foreign Minister reaffirmed her political and humanitarian
support for Iraqi Kurdistan. She also said that it is the duty
of the UN Security Council to have a mechanism in place for
the protection of Iraqi Kurdistan prior to the lifting of sanctions
Later on the 26th, Prime Minister Barzani met with Carl Tham,
Secretary-General of the Olof Palme International Centre, a
think tank in Sweden that specializes in international development
and cooperation issues. Mr. Barzani thanked Mr. Tham for the
meeting organized at the centre named after Olof Palme, a great
supporter of and friend to the Kurds.
Prime Minister Barzani and his delegation also attended a gathering
of Kurds from around the Nordic region.
The delegation has completed its visit to Sweden and is heading
on to other European countries.