ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian on Monday arrived in Erbil and met with officials from the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), including Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani.
Le Drian’s visit to Kurdistan is the first of a high-level delegation from France since the Region held an independence referendum on Sep. 25 of last year.
KRG Prime Minister Barzani received Le Drian at the Erbil International Airport earlier in the day. The French official was accompanied by a delegation from France’s Foreign Ministry and the French Embassy in Baghdad.
According to a statement released on the KRG’s website, during his meeting with Kurdish officials, Le Drian expressed France as well as President Emmanuel Macron’s support for resolving issues between Erbil and Baghdad “on the basis of the Iraqi Constitution.”
The French Foreign Minister said he hoped the negotiations that have already begun between the KRG and the Iraqi government “result in good outcomes and lead to the start of a serious dialogue to resolve all disputes between both sides.”
Le Drian also noted that France would “collaborate and encourage both sides to reach a resolution.”
Prime Minister Barzani thanked Macron for receiving a Kurdistan Region delegation following the Oct. 16 attack on Kirkuk, and for “breaking the political and diplomatic blockade imposed on Kurdistan,” the KRG statement said.
He also extended the people of Kurdistan as well as the KRG’s gratitude to France for its efforts and support toward the Kurdistan Region.
“The people of Kurdistan will not forget France’s support and assistance, and will regard it with gratitude,” Prime Minister Barzani stated.
According to the KRG statement, the French and Kurdish delegations also discussed issues in the region, the political process in Iraq, upcoming elections in Iraq and Kurdistan, a post-Islamic State era, and the KRG’s participation at the Iraq reconstruction conference in Kuwait.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany