ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Kurdistan Region Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani received a French delegation on Saturday where both sides discussed bilateral ties between Paris and Erbil.
The French delegation led by the Mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, had arrived in the Kurdistan Region capital on Thursday.
The visit is Hidalgo’s second trip to the autonomous region. The first was in September 2014 with then-French President Francois Hollande, four months after the emergence and spread of the so-called Islamic State in Iraq.
During her meeting with Prime Minister Barzani on Saturday, the French mayor expressed her city’s “desire to establish good relations with Erbil and the rest of the provinces in the Kurdistan Region,” a statement on the Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) website read.
According to the KRG statement, Hidalgo said some of the areas of cooperation between Paris and Erbil include clean energy, culture, transportation, and communication.
She also reserved praised for the Kurdish Peshmerga who “defended the whole world [against the so-called Islamic State] to preserve the common universal values of coexistence, tolerance, and peace.”
Prime Minister Barzani welcomed Paris’ support and thanked France, in general, for helping the Kurdistan Region during the war against the extremist group, “because without such assistance, victory would not have been achieved.”
One of the key members of the US-led coalition against the Islamic State, France has provided military and humanitarian support to the Kurdistan Region over the past few years. Indeed, its military advisers continue to train Peshmerga forces in the region.
Barzani also reiterated the Kurdistan Region’s determination to protect the culture of coexistence, peace, and tolerance, reassuring Hidalgo that the KRG would “defend these principles by all means.”