ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan24) – Armenia will open an honorary consulate in the Kurdistan Region, and two other countries will upgrade their representative offices, said a senior Kurdish official on Tuesday.
In an interview with Kurdistan24, the head of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Foreign Relations Department Falah Mustafa said Armenia plans to open its consulate in the Kurdistan Region after approval by the federal government of Iraq.
Additionally, Mustafa mentioned two other countries, Brazil and Austria, planned to upgrade their representative offices in the Region.
Brazil currently has an honorary consulate in the Kurdistan Region while Austria has a commercial office.
“10 years ago, there was no foreign representative office or consulate in the Kurdistan Region,” Mustafa told Kurdistan24. “Today, there are 34.”
The Foreign Relations Department was opened in 2007 and Mustafa highlighted the successful policies implemented by the KRG in the past decade.
Mustafa revealed the KRG plans to open new offices in foreign countries but did not specify where. The KRG currently has representative offices in 14 countries.
The Region faced serious issues in 2014 when Baghdad cut its federal budget share.
Additionally, the Islamic State’s (IS) emergence, the flow of 1.8 million refugees and Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), and the dramatic drop in international oil prices contributed to Kurdistan’s hardships.
“Yet, Kurdistan managed to survive and handle the situation as well as develop diplomatic relations with foreign countries from different parts of the world,” he stated.
Mustafa also reminded people in the Kurdistan Region of the security the KRG had provided since the liberation of Iraq in 2003.
On the other hand, the federal government of Iraq failed to secure several cities as explosions continue to hit the capital Baghdad on a regular basis.
On Monday, French President Francois Hollande visited Baghdad and met senior Iraqi officials.
During Hollande’s visit, nearly five car bombs targeted the city killing and injuring over 100 people.
Speaking on Kurdish self-determination, Mustafa explained no countries were against Kurdistan’s independence.
Moreover, he added countries could not express their stance on the case simply because Kurdish independence had not yet been declared.
“The Kurdistan Region aims to have balanced relations with all countries, including super powers,” he continued.
“We will not be part of any conflicts or sectarian violence in the Middle East or any part of the world,” Mustafa concluded.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany
(Kamaran Haji Omar conducted the interview)