Spanish Foreign Minister to visit Erbil on tour that includes Baghdad and Kuwait

Arancha Gonzalez Laya, the Spanish Foreign Minister. (Photo: Archive)
Arancha Gonzalez Laya, the Spanish Foreign Minister. (Photo: Archive)

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Spain’s Foreign Minister Arancha Gonzalez Laya will visit the Kurdistan Region this week as part of an official visit to Iraq and Kuwait, the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.

Gonzalez will make the trip to Erbil on Tuesday and will hold a series of meetings with senior officials in the Kurdistan Region.

She will also meet civil society representatives of and Spanish aid workers working in United Nations’ agencies to exchange views on the humanitarian situation and the challenges facing the region, the ministry said.

The Spanish embassy has held several cultural events in the Kurdistan Region, including the flamenco concert held in Erbil and Sulaimani in November 2018, and last year the Ambassador to Iraq proposed that the autonomous Kurdistan Region's capital be linked as a "sister city" with Malaga in southern Spain.

Before heading to Erbil, Gonzales will hold meetings on Monday with senior officials in the federal government of Iraq, during which she will discuss ways to "enhance political dialogue … and bilateral relations as well as strengthening economic and trade relations that have not yet developed to their fullest potential."

While in Baghdad she will meet with Iraqi President Barham Salih and Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi, as well as with her counterpart Fouad Hussein and with officials of the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq. She will also visit the US military base to meet with the Spanish military forces stationed there. Spain is a member of the US-led international coalition against Islamic State, and has provided training to Iraqi forces.

Gonzalez will visit Kuwait at the trip’s start on April 10 and 11, with a focus on strengthening political dialogue, economic relations, and supporting scientific cooperation.

Editing by Joanne Stocker-Kelly