ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – In a ceremony on Friday, the Kurdistan Region Prime Minister, Nechirvan Barzani, alongside US Ambassador to Iraq, Douglas Silliman, and US Consul General, Ken Gross, broke soil at the site where the new US consulate will be built.
“This project sends a strong message to the world, that the US wants to stay in Iraq, Kurdistan, and wishes to develop relations further,” Barzani stated during the ceremony.
Barzani added, “we consider this a critical project, which we hope will be the groundwork for future ventures.”
The Consulate will overlook the Erbil-Pirmam highway on a 200,000 square-meter plot and will cost $600 million.
An American company will lead the construction project as the contract winners for the new US Consulate General, the US Department of State announced in a statement a year ago.
The compound “embraces the guiding principles of safety, functionality, and positively representing the US in relation to the host government and region,” the designer of the building had explained.
The cornerstone for the new consulate building was laid mid-April when Silliman and Barzani came together for an announcement in a similar ceremony.
“It is a sign of US confidence and trust in the Kurdistan Region, now and in its future,” Barzani had said.
“We hope [the construction of a new compound for the US Consulate] will lead to an important, strategic, and long-term partnership with the Kurdistan Region.“
Editing by Nadia Riva