Austrian-Kurdish business conference to be held in Erbil, says KRG chief diplomat

The investors are looking for business opportunities and to shape the Vienna-Erbil trade ties, the diplomat added, describing the bilateral relations as “vigorous.”
Head of KRG DFR Safeen Dizayee (top right) is pictured while receiving Austrian Minister of Foreign Affairs Alexander Schallenberg, Sept. 12, 2023. (Photo: KRG)
Head of KRG DFR Safeen Dizayee (top right) is pictured while receiving Austrian Minister of Foreign Affairs Alexander Schallenberg, Sept. 12, 2023. (Photo: KRG)

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – An Austrian trade delegation is set to meet their Kurdish counterparts at a conference on Wednesday in Erbil, where the European country’s foreign minister is also set to take part, the Kurdistan Region’s chief diplomat told Kurdistan 24.

The head of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Department of Foreign Relations Safeen Dizayee received the Austrian Minister of Foreign Affairs Alexander Schallenberg following his trip to Baghdad, where he had reopened Austria’s embassy following decades of closure.

Schallenberg is accompanied by Austrian investors that will participate in a “small economic conference” in Erbil, Dizayee told Kurdistan 24 on Wednesday evening at Erbil International Airport.

The investors are looking for business opportunities and to shape the Vienna-Erbil trade ties, the diplomat added, describing the bilateral relations as “vigorous.”

The Austrian diplomat is set to meet with the Region’s leadership, including Prime Minister Masrour Barzani, Kurdistan Region President Nechirvan Barzani, and Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) President Masoud Barzani in Erbil, he confirmed.

This is the first official visit by the Austrian chief diplomat to Erbil, where the country had maintained a commercial office.

However, although Vienna does not have a diplomatic presence, the country enjoys a close relationship with the Kurdistan Region. In Dec. 2006, the country’s Austria Airlines was the first European airline to operate direct flights between Erbil and Vienna.

PM Barzani in February 2022 received at least two Austrian top diplomats, including head of the Middle East and North Africa section at the Austrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs as well as the country’s ambassador to Iraq and Jordan at the time. In the meetings, the Kurdish leader and Austrian diplomats underlined the issue of illegal migration to Europe.

The Austrian diplomats, in turn, expressed their willingness to develop trade and investment ties with the Kurdistan Region, per a release at the time.