ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – France’s Emmanuel Macron expressed his delight with the formation of the new Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), the autonomous region's President Nechirvan Barzani said following a meeting in Paris with his French counterpart on Wednesday.
President Barzani met Macron at the Élysée Palace after an official invitation from the French leader. The trip marked Barzani’s first visit to the European nation since he was elected as president on June 10.
As he was escorted out of the Élysée Palace by Macron, the Kurdish president took a moment to speak with reporters from various Kurdish media, including Kurdistan 24’s Barzan Hassan who handed President Barzani a bouquet of roses which he accepted with a smile.
During the meeting, the French leader “expressed his delight with the formation of the new KRG cabinet and wished the new government success,” Barzani told Kurdistan 24.
“Macron also said that he would visit the Kurdistan Region,” he added.
Kurdistan Region President Nechirvan Barzani tells Kurdistan 24's @BarzanK24 that French President @EmmanuelMacron expressed his delight with the formation of the #NewKRGCabinet and wished the new government success during their meeting on Wednesday. #TwitterKurds @IKRPresident pic.twitter.com/OoEtmVqNH2— Kurdistan 24 English (@K24English) July 10, 2019
Regarding what else they covered in the meeting, President Barzani said the two leaders discussed bilateral ties between Erbil and Paris and that he had thanked France for its support for the Kurdistan Region’s Peshmerga forces in the ongoing fight against the so-called Islamic State.
“I also thanked Macron for his help in mending ties with Baghdad,” Barzani told reporters. “He played a significant role in moderating a dialogue between the KRG and the Iraqi government.”
Ties between Erbil and Baghdad deteriorated in the aftermath of the Kurdistan Region’s historic independence referendum where nearly 93 percent of voters called for independence.
Baghdad rejected the results of the ballot and responded with a set of punitive measures including a flight ban and the use of military force to regain control of disputed areas which the Peshmerga had advanced to protect from the Islamic State.
“After the referendum, Macron played a significant role in ensuring the Kurdistan Region remained an important factor in the region,” President Barzani told reporters.
The Kurdish president’s official website is expected to soon release a statement about the meeting.
Editing John J. Catherine