WATCH: German Defense Minister in Erbil, visits new hospital for Peshmerga
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) - German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen on Sunday paid a visit to Germany's military advisers based in the Kurdistan Region's capital.
The Minister arrived in Erbil over the weekend following an unannounced visit to Baghdad on Saturday where she met with Iraqi officials.
Leyen visited a German military hospital being built for Kurdish Peshmerga forces in Erbil. During her visit of the construction site, Peshmerga soldiers demonstrated their skills in providing first aid and medical attention to injured fighters which they developed thanks to the training provided by the German military advisers.
Germany funded the six-million-euro hospital which has yet to be completed and will be expanded in the future.
Talking to reporters, Leyen highlighted the need for a long-term partnership between Baghdad and Erbil to protect and preserve the victory against the Islamic State (IS) in Iraq.
The Minister also praised the role of the Peshmerga in defeating the jihadist group and encouraged both Iraqi and Kurdish security forces to continue collaborating to ensure the safety and stability of the country.
Roughly 150 Germany advisers have been training Peshmerga forces against IS over the past few years as part of the US-led coalition support.
In addition to the training, Germany has provided substantial military aid to the Kurdish forces, including weapons and ammunition.
The visit is the first of its kind by a German minister to Erbil since the Sep. 25 referendum for the Kurdistan Region as the Iraqi Federal Government previously prevented Germany's Foreign Minister, Sigmar Gabriel, from traveling to Erbil.
Editing by Nadia Riva