President Barzani meets world leaders in Switzerland
Kurdistan President attends World Economic Forum in Davos
Following a visit to Davos, Switzerland, to participate in the World Economic Forum, the President of the Kurdistan Region, Massoud Barzani, and his accompanying delegation had meetings with a number of political and business leaders.
In addition to his participation in the forum, the Kurdish President met with several top ranking officials from various countries across the world as well as economic leaders.
On the second day of his participation in the World Economic Forum in Davos, President Barzani held separate meetings with the Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, the Lebanese Prime Minster Najib Miqati, a US congressional delegation headed by majority leader’s Eric Cantor, Switzerland’s State Secretary for Foreign Affairs Yves Rosseir and President of the International Red Cross Peter Mauer. The Dutch Prime Minister praised the Kurdistan Region for its rapid economic growth and stability, and said his government will work to encourage major Dutch companies to invest in Kurdistan. In this meeting, the President and the Dutch PM also talked about the political devel- opments in Iraq and the ongoing crisis in Syria. The meeting between the Lebanese PM and the President centered on strengthening ties between Kurdistan and Lebanon, especially as a large number of Lebanese citizens work in Kurdistan. Prime Minister Miqati said his government intends to open a consulate in Erbil in the near future. The two also discussed the crisis in Syria, the increasing number of Syrian refugees in both Lebanon and Kurdistan, and the impact of the Syrian crisis on Iraq and Lebanon.
In his meeting with the US Congressional delegation, President Barzani talked about the current challenges facing the political process in Iraq, tensions between Erbil and Baghdad, and developments in the region in general. Congressman and Majority leader Eric Cantor congratulated Barzani for the achievements that have been made in Kurdistan.
Barzani also met with the President of the International Red Cross Peter Mauer, who expressed his organization’s grati- tude to the KRG for its close cooperation; he said staff from the Red Cross’s regional office in Erbil visit KRG prisons without any hindrance. Also discussed in this meeting was the situation of Syrian refugees. In this meeting, Barzani thanked the Red Cross for its positive assessment of the KRG. On the Syrian refugee crisis, he said that the Red Cross can play a role in delivering humanitarian aid to people inside Syria.
Also during his Davos visit, the President and several Middle Eastern leaders participated in a roundtable meeting on the geopolitical impact of the Arab Spring in the region.
In addition to meeting with world and Middle Eastern political and economic leaders, the Kurdish President met with top ranking officials of the two American oil giants Exxon Mobil and Chevron.
On the first day of his visit, Barzani met with the President of Exxon Mobil Mr. Rex Tillerson in Zurich to discuss the company’s activities in the Kurdistan Region and in Iraq.
The next day the Kurdish delegation met with Chevron’s Global Head of Business Development Mr. Jay Pryor on the sidelines of the Forum to discuss the company’s operations in the Kurdistan Region.
Mr. Pryor said the company had made a great deal of progress in the short time that it has been working in Kurdistan. He also expressed his company’s gratitude for the warm reception and cooperation from the KRG.
Pryor emphasized Chevron’s commitment to a long-term partnership with the KRG and said the company had a strong desire to expand its activities in the Kurdistan Region. Commending the decision to work in Kurdistan, President Barzani assured Pryor of the Region’s support for the US oil giant’s efforts. He said the relationship had a bright future and that it would be beneficial for both Kurdistan and Iraq as a whole.
During the meeting, Pryor was informed that Chevron’s bid for the Qara Dagh exploration area was successful, and that a contract would soon be finalized. Pryor presented Barzani with Chevron’s annual corporate calendar, which this year features historic photographs of Kurdistan selected from the archive of Anthony Kersting at London’s Courtauld Institute. Barzani thanked Chevron for their sincere interest and research into Kurdistan’s history and culture. Moreover, Barzani held talks with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu in Davos for discussions on bilateral relations, current developments in Iraq, and the situation in Syria. On bilateral relations between Turkey and the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, both sides expressed their satisfaction with the increasing ties and mutual cooperation and both also reaffirmed their commitment to further enhance these ties. They concurred that strong ties between the two is not only in the interests of both Turkey and the KRG, but also in the interests of Iraq and the wider region.
Regarding latest developments in Iraq, Barzani said the current state of affairs in Iraq is untenable and needs urgent attention. He said the leadership of the Kurdistan Region will work with other Iraqi leaders to do what all they can to find a resolution to the current crisis. He added that the situation has reached such a critical level that it is threatening the whole political process in the country.
The President’s last meeting in Davos was with King Abdullah of Jordan, which focused on strengthening economic ties and developments in Iraq and in the region.
Several senior KRG officials accompanied President Barzani in this visit, which included KRG Deputy Prime Minister Imad Ahmad, President’s Chief of Staff Fuad Hussein, KRG Minister of Natural Resources Ashti Hawrami, KRG Minister of Planning Ali Sindi and KRG Head of Foreign Relations Falah Mustafa. This was the Kurdistan Region’s first participation in this international gathering.
President Barzani Meets with Chevron Vice President in Davos, Switzerland.