Pres­i­dent Barzani dis­cusses Iraq’s po­lit­i­cal cri­sis with Swedish del­e­ga­tion

The Po­lit­i­cal Di­rec­tor from the Swedish Min­istry of For­eign Af­fairs, Mr Björn Lyr­vall, vis­ited the Kur­dis­tan Re­gion for the first time last week to meet with Pres­i­dent Ma­soud Barzani and dis­cuss bi­lat­eral re­la­tions, the po­lit­i­cal stale­mate in Iraq and the

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The visit is part of ef­forts to un­der­stand the Kur­dis­tan Re­gional Government’s po­si­tion on the con­tin­ued po­lit­i­cal dis­agree­ments be­tween Er­bil and Bagh­dad.

Dur­ing the meet­ing with Pres­i­dent Barzani, Mr Lyr­vall stressed the im­por­tance of strength­en­ing the cur­rent po­lit­i­cal and eco­nomic re­la­tion­ship be­tween Er­bil and Stock­holm, ex­press­ing his hope that it will ex­pand into other sec­tors.

He also un­der­lined Swe­den’s and the EU’s readi­ness to help keep Iraq on the path to democ­racy and to pro­tect hu­man rights ac­cord­ing to its Con­sti­tu­tion.

Pres­i­dent Barzani ex­pressed his ap­pre­ci­a­tion to the peo­ple and government of Swe­den for pro­vid­ing refuge and as­sis­tance to the Kur­dish peo­ple dur­ing their trou­bled his­tory.

The visit also in­cluded a meet­ing with Min­is­ter Falah Mustafa Bakir, Head of the De­part­ment of For­eign Re­la­tions. Min­is­ter Bakir had met with Mr Lyr­vall on his visit to Swe­den in Jan­uary this year. They dis­cussed ways of deep­en­ing the al­ready strong re­la­tions be­tween Swe­den and the Kur­dis­tan Re­gion

On the po­lit­i­cal cri­sis, Min­is­ter Bakir said that the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity has a sig­nif­i­cant role to play to keep Iraq on the path to gen­uine democ­racy. He said, “We want to go past this po­lit­i­cal stale­mate, we want a clear po­si­tion from the other po­lit­i­cal part­ners. The Iraqi peo­ple de­serve se­cu­rity, ser­vices, and jobs.”

When asked about the KRG’s re­la­tions with Turkey and the war in Syria, Min­is­ter Bakir said, “Our re­la­tion­ship with Turkey is in the in­ter­ests of the en­tire coun­try, and does not threaten the unity of Iraq.” He added, “We sup­port the le­git­i­mate de­mands of the peo­ple in Syria, and we wel­come a peace­ful tran­si­tion and a demo­cratic alternative.”

Mr Lyr­vall was ac­com­pa­nied by Swe­den’s Am­bas­sador to Iraq, Mr Jör­gen Lind­ström, and the Head of Swe­den’s Em­bassy Of­fice in Er­bil, Ms Louise Calais, through­out his visit. He also met the Min­is­ter for the In­te­rior Karim Sin­jari.

Kur­dish Pres­i­dent Mas­soud Barzani meets with the Po­lit­i­cal Di­rec­tor from the Swedish Min­istry of For­eign Af­fairs, Mr Björn Lyr­vall and his ac­com­pa­ny­ing del­e­ga­tion, Sala­haddin, March 7, 2013.

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