Dutch Secretary General joins official opening of embassy liaison office
Officials from the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs and their mission in Baghdad came together in Erbil on Wednesday, February 20, 2013 to officially open their embassy liaison office.
The Secretary-General of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mrs Renée Jones-Bos, was in the Kurdistan Region during the opening of the Erbil Embassy Liaison Office, which will be headed by Mr Jeroen Kelderhuis.
Speaking at the ceremony, the Dutch Ambassador to Iraq, Mr Harry Molenaar, welcomed government officials and diplomats to the ceremony, saying that the event marks a significant step in relations. He said, “I’m proud to host this event for two reasons; firstly because we conclude the first highranking official visit, and secondly of course is that we are officially launching our presence here in the Kurdistan Region.”
The Netherlands is the 26th country to have established a presence in Erbil.
Mrs Jones-Bos acknowledged the hardships that the Kurdish people faced under the former regime - many of whom fled to the Netherlands. She said, “We are here partly because of our good relations with the people of the Region and also because we think we have something to offer.”
She touched on the visible progress being achieved and the political maturity taking place, and praised Kurdistan’s leadership for their vision.
She also spoke of the monument in the Netherlands to commemorate the history and suffering of the Kurdish people.
Netherlands currently has a large Kurdish population from Iraq, reaching about 85,000, according to Mrs Jones-Bos.
The KRG Minister for the Interior Karim Sin- jari spoke at the event on behalf of Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani. He said, “The opening of this office is another step in broadening ties between Kurdistan and the Netherlands, and is part of our outreach policy to engage with the international community.” “We place much impor- tance to our ties with the Netherlands as it is one of the most developed countries in the European Union. We hope that their companies and investors will participate in the rebuilding of our infrastructure.”
During her visit, Secretary-General Jones-Bos met with Prime Minis- ter Barzani; the Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Mr Hassan Rasool; Minister Sinjari, the Head of Foreign Relations Minister Falah Mustafa; and the Minister of Agriculture and Water Resources, Dr Serwan Baban.
She was accompanied by Ambassador Molenaar and Mr Kelderhuis throughout the visit.
Others who attended the opening, including the Minister of Trade and Industry, Mr Sinan Çelebi; the Governor of Erbil, Mr Nawzadi Hadi, political and government officials and diplomats.
Officials from the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs and their mission in Baghdad came together in Erbil on Wednesday.