ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – France will always remain a good and dependable ally for the people of the Kurdistan Region and Kurds elsewhere, French Consul General in Erbil Dominique Mas said on Monday.
The French diplomat’s comments came in a New Year’s message where he wished all the people living in Kurdistan “good health and a lot of happiness in 2019.”
“Of course, we all need peace and we all need stability in the region and I hope that it will happen more than in 2018.”
Mas recalled his President Emmanuel Macron’s words last week when he expressed his deep regret with the US announcement of a troop withdrawal from Syria where they have been backing the Kurds in the fight against the Islamic State (IS), adding that “an ally should be dependable.”
“I think that France is a [dependable] ally to Kurdistan; to all the Kurds, not only” the Kurdistan Region, Mas told Kurdistan 24.
“We’ll still remain as [dependable], we’ll still remain a good ally, and we’ll still improve our cooperation and I’m sure that in the coming months you will show how deep our commitment is,” the French Consul General added.
Mas noted that France has “done a lot” with the Kurdistan Region and he hoped bilateral relations with Kurdistan continue to improve.
The French diplomat also expressed his well wishes to the families of the martyrs in the Kurdistan Region and said their sacrifices would not be forgotten.
“We all remember all the Peshmerga and all the civilians who passed away because of this fight against IS,” Mas stated, “and, of course, we have a specific thought and specific wishes for them today.”
Since the emergence of IS in 2014, over 1,700 Peshmerga have fallen while fighting the extremist group and more than 10,000 were wounded, according to the Peshmerga Ministry.
“I would like that in 2019, we can, all of us, show that they didn’t pass away for nothing. And they passed away in order to fight for our freedom and to preserve our democracy here in this country, and specifically in this region, and even in Europe,” Mas told Kurdistan 24.
Following elections in both Iraq and the semi-autonomous Kurdistan Region, the French Consul General said he hopes the two governments in Baghdad and Erbil will continue to improve their relations “in a smooth way, in a productive way.”
An Iraq that is more inclusive, tolerant, democratic, and developed will also benefit the Kurdistan Region, Mas noted.
(Blessa Shaweys conducted the interview)