ISIS threat not over yet: French Minister of Armed Forces

"We thanked France for its support and friendship. The Kurdish people will never forget France's support," President Nechirvan Barzani reiterated.
Kurdistan Region President Nechirvan Barzani (right) during his press conference with French Minister of Armed Forces Sebastien Lecornu, July 19, 2023. (Photo: Kurdistan 24)
Kurdistan Region President Nechirvan Barzani (right) during his press conference with French Minister of Armed Forces Sebastien Lecornu, July 19, 2023. (Photo: Kurdistan 24)

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The Minister of France's Armed Forces, Sebastien Lecornu, on Wednesday arrived in Erbil and met with Kurdistan Region President Nechirvan Barzani.

After the meeting, they held a press conference and touched upon many pressing issues in the region.

Lecornu said that the threat of ISIS is not over yet, and noted that they “must cooperate more in intelligence and training.”

Additionally, the Kurdistan Region President stressed that the visit of the French Minister of Armed Forces is an important message that demonstrates France's continuing support of Iraq and the Kurdistan Region.

Moreover, Barzani declared that they had a positive meeting, and they both agreed that the lingering presence of ISIS in the region is dangerous for both the region and the world.

"We thanked France for its support and friendship. The Kurdish people will never forget France's support," President Nechirvan Barzani reiterated.

Furthermore, he emphasized that they agreed on the importance of implementing the Sinjar agreement and supporting the return of the Yezidis to Sinjar.

Lecornu is also scheduled to meet with Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) President Masoud Barzani.

On Tuesday, the French Minister of Armed Forces arrived in Baghdad and met with both the Iraqi Prime Minister and Defense Minister.

Lecornu also visited French soldiers and military advisors in Iraq.

On July 17, several prominent Kurdish officials, including KDP President Barzani, attended France's Bastille Day reception held in Erbil.

Read More: Celebration of French National Day highlights strong French-Kurdish relations

Erbil and Paris share close economic, cultural, and political ties. The two capitals are sister cities.

As an integral part of the US-led coalition against ISIS, France has provided the Kurdistan Region’s Peshmerga forces with training as well as air support in the Kurdish forces’ fight against the terror group between 2014 and 2017.

Two French presidents, including incumbent President Emmanuel Macron and his predecessor François Hollande, have visited the Kurdistan Region in recent years.

Kurdistan Region Prime Minister Masrour Barzani visited Paris in February 2023 and met with the country’s top officials in a bid to further strengthen bilateral ties, the Region’s officials said at the time.

Kurdish officials praise France regularly for the effective role it played in lifting “the diplomatic embargo” imposed by Baghdad on Erbil following the Kurdistan Region’s 2017 independence referendum, in which an overwhelming 90-plus percent of KRG citizens voted in favor of secession.