ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen on Wednesday said her country stands with Kurdistan and Iraq as they move toward a stage of stabilization and reconstruction following the war against the Islamic State (IS).
Speaking to Kurdistan 24 on the sidelines of an international donor’s conference for the reconstruction of Iraq, von der Leyen said the world “respects” the struggle of the Kurdistan Region’s Peshmerga and the Iraqi security forces in their fight against IS extremists.
“The International community is full of respect [for] what the [Iraqi security forces], side by side with the Peshmerga forces, were able to do,” The German Defense Minister said.
The Minister added that the international community was “aware of the fact” that Peshmerga and Iraqi forces successfully “freed the country from the terror of IS.”
“We are in a stage right now where the [US-led coalition] is moving from [a period of fighting] against IS into a period of stabilization and reconstruction of Iraq,” von der Leyen told Kurdistan 24.
She emphasized the need to “stand by the side” of Iraq as well as the Kurdistan Region as they “go into a stage of stabilization, reconstruction, and of capacity building.”
The German Defense Minister had visited Iraq and the Kurdistan Region earlier this week before heading to Kuwait for the donor’s conference.
During her trip to Kurdistan, von der Leyen visited a site in Erbil where German military advisers are building a hospital for Kurdish Peshmerga forces.
Over the past few years, roughly 150 German advisers have been training Peshmerga as part of the international coalition’s mission against IS, as well as providing substantial military aid, including weapons and ammunition.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany