ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The US Ambassador to Iraq, Douglas Silliman, along with the Kurdistan Region’s Prime Minister, Nechirvan Barzani, on Monday announced the start of constructing a new US Consulate in the capital of the semi-autonomous region.
In a statement delivered at a ceremony in Erbil, Barzani said that the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) welcomes the construction of the compound, one of the largest in the world, and that “it is a sign of US confidence and trust in the Kurdistan Region, now and in its future.”
He mentioned that the project is an indicator that Washington wants to develop its diplomatic relations with the Kurdistan Region, “within the framework of federal Iraq.“
“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,“ Barzani stated.
Ambassador Silliman also praised the project in Erbil.
“The building will be a tangible sign of the continuing commitment of the US to engage with and assist the KRG and its people to build a strong region within a unified, federal, democratic, and prosperous Iraq,” the US Ambassador said, noting how ties between the Kurdish people and America have endured for decades.
”I believe the Kurdistan Region will be an important point of entry for foreign investment because this region has a very positive history of doing business,” the ambassador added, explaining that the US wants to work with the KRG, but more importantly, with Kurdish businessmen and businesswomen to help attract new projects.
“The new Consulate building demonstrates that the US will stand with the people of Iraqi Kurdistan as they build a future that will be brighter than the past.”
According to Silliman, the new Consulate General “will represent the best in America's architecture, engineering, technology, environmental sustainability, art, culture and construction, and of course the best in diplomacy.”
The new US Consulate General building will take a number of years to complete and will be located on Pirmam Road in Erbil.
“I am very happy we will have a beautiful new compound in the shadow of the mountains here on the north side of Erbil,” Silliman said.
The US has a number of projects with the KRG, including the Iraqi Governance and Performance Accountability Program, with its office in Erbil to improve the management of public finances in the Kurdistan Region.
There are 38 foreign consulate and representative offices in the Kurdistan Region, including the five permanent members of the UN’s Security Council.
The US opened its consulate in the semi-autonomous region in 2011.
Editing by Nadia Riva