ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General (SRSG) for Iraq, Jan Kubis, on Monday paid his farewell visit to the Kurdistan Region, during which he met with Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani and praised the Kurdish role in the new Iraqi government.
Kubis, who has been the main UN envoy in Iraq since early 2015, will be succeeded by Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, a prominent politician who has visited both Baghdad and Erbil while previously serving as Dutch Defense Minister.
According to a statement by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), Kubis thanked Erbil and Barzani for the assistance they had provided him during his tenure.
The SRSG said he built a “good friendship” with Iraq in general and with the Kurdistan Region in particular.
Kubis, who is seen to have played a positive role in bridging the divide between Erbil and Baghdad, also praised the participation of the Kurdistan Region in the new Iraqi government.
Barzani, in turn, commended Kubis for his efforts in “bringing together Iraqi factions and forces and [establishing] stability and peace” in “this difficult period in Iraq.”
He also wished the best of luck to the UN envoy, saying the Kurdistan Region will always be “his second home” and that he would enjoy “the continued support of its people.”
Kubis later met with Chancellor of the Kurdistan Region Security Council (KRSC) Masrour Barzani, with both highlighting efforts to improve Erbil-Baghdad relations.
The outgoing envoy congratulated Barzani on being voted by the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) as their candidate to form the region’s new cabinet and wished him success in the endeavor.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres decided in late August to install Hennis-Plasschaert as successor to Kubis.
She was Defense Minister in the Netherlands from 2012 to 2017, was the first woman appointed to the position, and also the first appointed to lead the UN mission to Iraq.
Editing by John J. Catherine