KRG, Saudi delegation plan for Kurdistan to be 'center' of investment in Iraq
Erbil (Kurdistan 24) – The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) announced on Tuesday that officials from Riyadh and Erbil had agreed to transform the Kurdistan Region into a new center of commercial activity and investment in Iraq.
The agreement was made in a meeting in Erbil between KRG Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani and a Saudi Arabian delegation which arrived on Monday and included President of the Chamber of Commerce Sami bin Abdullah al-Obeidi, Ambassador to Iraq Abdul-Aziz al-Shammari, Consul General in Erbil Mansour Faisal al-Uteibi.
According to a statement from Barzani's office, both governments had decided to “set the Kurdistan Region, as a first step, as the center to begin commercial, economic, and investment activities throughout Iraq.”
The Saudi delegation expressed its desire to “invest and have [Saudi] businesspersons in the Kurdistan Region benefit from the security, stability, and the suitable ground for investment,” in the region.
The statement added the two sides discussed “employment and investment opportunities and the strengthening of economic and trade ties in all areas of the Kurdistan Region.”
The need to establish direct flights between the region's airports and Saudi Arabia was stressed, as was a plan to open a Saudi bank in Iraq.
To these ends, the delegation and Kurdish officials supported the convening of a conference in either the Kurdistan Region or Saudi Arabia, with the participation of investors, businessmen from Saudi Arabia, Iraq, the Kurdistan Region, and the concerned governmental bodies on both sides.
Barzani also expressed the readiness of his government to provide facilities for investment and operation of Saudi capital in the Kurdistan Region.
The KRG maintains good relations with Riyadh and Kurdish leaders have visited the regional powerhouse several times in recent years to discuss a wide range of issues.
Editing by John J. Catherine