ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – The Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Region, Nechirvan Barzani, met with French President Emmanuel Macron at the Élysée Palace on Saturday.
Both leaders are expected to discuss de-escalation efforts between Baghdad and Erbil, according to a Kurdistan 24 correspondent in Paris.
A Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) delegation, led by Prime Minister Barzani arrived in Paris on Friday.
Barzani was officially invited by Macron—according to the KRG’s press office—in what was his first visit abroad since the Sep. 25 independence referendum.
Deputy Prime Minister Qubad Talabani, Chief of Staff to the Kurdistan Region Presidency Fuad Hussein, and KRG Spokesperson Safeen Dizayee accompanied Barzani on his visit to the French capital.
France is one of the members of the US-led coalition, and have actively engaged and supported the Region in the fight against the Islamic State (IS).
Former French President Francois Hollande visited Kurdistan twice during his tenure, becoming the first European President to visit Kurdistan.
Ties between Erbil and Baghdad have considerably deteriorated since the Kurdistan Region’s independence referendum.
As a show of good faith, the KRG offered to freeze the results of the referendum, but Baghdad refused, demanding a full annulment instead.
Since the plebiscite, Baghdad has launched collective punitive measures against Kurdistan, including the use of military force to control Kirkuk Province and other disputed territories.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany