ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – President of the autonomous Kurdistan Region Nechirvan Barzani on Thursday discussed ties between Erbil – Paris with French Mayor Anne Hidalgo.
Barzani’s meeting with Hidalgo was held during the second day of his trip to Paris to meet with French President Emmanuel Macron in the Élysée Palace.
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The Kurdish official commended France’s support to the Kurdistan Region and hoped for the continued cooperation between the two capitals, according to Barzani’s press office.
“Mayor Hidalgo praised the coexistence, tolerance, and diversity of the Kurdistan Region. She also applauded the condition of religious and ethnic components, and the help and support provided to the refugees in the Kurdistan Region,” the presidency’s statement reads.
Discussing the situation in Iraq and the Kurdistan Region, France’s relations with Iraq and the Kurdistan Region, strengthening relations between Erbil and Baghdad, challenges to the global environment and terrorists threats were among discussed topics
In the meeting, both sides exchanged gifts.
“I’m glad to see that Notre Dame recovery & reconstruction efforts are well underway after fire destroyed a portion of this historic landmark earlier this year,” Barzani tweeted on his official Twitter account.
I’m pleased to visit Mayor of Paris @Anne_Hidalgo in her office and discuss cooperation between Erbil & Paris. I’m glad to see that Notre Dame recovery & reconstruction efforts are well underway after fire destroyed a portion of this historic landmark earlier this year. pic.twitter.com/zgnNHlZTfl— Nechirvan Barzani (@IKRPresident) July 11, 2019
The senior Kurdish leader later also met with members of the Kurdish community in Paris and highlighted France’s support to the Kurdistan Region throughout history and the historic relations between the two.
“France was the first country to take the decision to establish a safe haven [no-fly zone] in the Kurdistan Region at the time , to protect our people, and these relations continued with the French state, especially with President [François] Mitterand,” Barzani said while addressing the Kurdish community in Paris.
I’m delighted to meet old friends and members of the Kurdish community tonight in Paris. pic.twitter.com/PYztmigHX1— Nechirvan Barzani (@IKRPresident) July 11, 2019
He stressed the major support of France to the Kurdistan Region in the fight against the Islamic State.
“France has opened its political doors to our people and has made serious efforts with other European countries and with Baghdad to solve the problems” between the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and the federal government of Iraq, Barzani added.
He underlined the improving relations between Erbil and Baghdad, and noted that the Kurdistan Region wants to resolve longstanding disputes with the federal government based on the Constitution of Iraq. Barzani praised Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi’s efforts in this regard.
“The issue of Kurds in the Middle East is a serious problem that must be resolved politically in the countries where Kurds live, each country according to its specificities,” the Kurdish leader arguef.
“We look forward with great optimism to the outlook of the Kurdistan Region and strive to keep the Kurdistan Region, as always, a factor of stability in the region in general.”
Editing by Nadia Riva