Barzani stresses further cooperation with Netherlands following meeting with PM Rutte

Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani highlighted further cooperation between Erbil and Amsterdam in a meeting with his Dutch counterpart at the Hague.

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Kurdistan Region Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani on Tuesday highlighted further cooperation between Erbil and Amsterdam in a meeting with his Dutch counterpart Mark Rutte at the Hague.

“We had a good meeting with the Prime Minister of the Netherlands. We thanked the Netherlands for their support in the fight against Da’esh [Islamic State] and for providing humanitarian aid to the Syrian refugees and displaced Iraqi in the Kurdistan Region,” Barzani told reporters following his meeting with Rutte.

“We stressed on fostering bilateral relations in all fields, especially in economy,” the KRG Prime Minister added, noting it was the first time he met with Rutte at the Hague.

“The meeting was good and will be the beginning of new cooperation between the Kurdistan Region and Holland in particular and with Iraq in general.”

Barzani’s meeting comes one day after his visit to Turkey on Monday to attend the ceremony of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan taking the oath of office.

“Our visit to Turkey was good. Although it was only to attend Turkish President Erdogan’s oath of office ceremony, we had a chance to talk to him,” Barzani continued.

“We believe our visit to Turkey was the start of a new beginning regarding Kurdistan - Turkey relations. It was my first visit to Turkey after last year’s incidents. I believe the visit went well.”

The last time the top Kurdish official visited Turkey was before the Kurdistan Region’s historic independence referendum in September.

Turkey, along with other neighboring states, opposed the referendum, in which 93 percent of the people voted for independence.

Ankara made military threats and joined in diplomatically isolating the Region. However, crucially, Turkey kept the border crossing with the Kurdistan Region open, mitigating the hardship that followed the popular vote.

The Kurdish Prime Minister added that he plans to meet with Belgian officials in Brussels in the coming days.

Editing by Karzan Sulaivany