Austria’s Foreign Minister pledges more support for Kurdistan Region
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan24) – The Austrian Foreign Minister visited the Kurdistan Region to guarantee more support to the Region in the fight against the Islamic State (IS) as well as the refugee crisis.
Sebastian Kruz, Austria’s Foreign and Development minister, arrived in Erbil on Friday.
According to a Kurdistan24 reporter, the purpose of his visit was to provide more support for Peshmerga forces and help the internally displaced people (IDPs) currently taking shelter in the Kurdistan Region.
In a statement by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) on its website, Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani and Deputy PM Qubad Talabani met with the Austrian delegation headed by Minister Kruz on Saturday.
The group discussed the strengthening of friendship and bilateral relations between Kurdistan and Austria.
[KRG PM Nechirvan Barzani and the Austrian Foreign Minister Kruz Sebastian, July 16, 2016. (Photo: Sebastian Kruz's Twitter)]
According to the KRG statement, Kruz expressed his happiness for this second visit to Kurdistan.
“Kruz expressed his country’s readiness to provide humanitarian assistance to the Kurdistan Region and mobilize more resources for the Region on the international level,” the statement read.
Following the meeting with the KRG officials, Kruz wrote in a Tweet that “it’s important to support Kurds in the fight against [IS].”
Austria’s Foreign and Development Minister visited Dibaga camp for Iraqi IDPs near Erbil, where at least 20,000 people have been sheltered. He also took the opportunity to thank the KRG for their important role in helping the IDPs.
“[IS] is a threat to the whole world; therefore, we should jointly work to eradicate this threat,” Kruz said in a press conference following the visit.
[Austria’s Foreign Minister Sebestian Kruz visited an IDP camp near Erbil, July 16, 2016. (Photo: Sebastian Kruz's Twitter)]
Kruz also visited the United Nations Development Program office in Erbil, stating that his country will “support UNDP with two million Euros to provide support for people returning to liberated areas” in Iraq and the Kurdistan Region.
Falah Mustafa, Head of the KRG’s Department of Foreign Relations, told reporters on Friday that Austria cannot assist the Kurdistan Region with arms.
He added that they would provide humanitarian aid and some non-combat military equipment such as uniforms and masks.
In February 2015, the 30-year-old minister visited the Kurdistan Region for the first time. He observed the developments in the war against IS and discussed the latest political and security developments in Iraq.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany