Sweden, Italy and EU ready to support Kurdistan
President Barzani meets Sweden’s Foreign Minister and Italian PM
On August 19, Kurdistan Region President Masoud Barzani met with Sweden’s Foreign Minister Carl Bid who was accompanied by EU Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response Kristalina Georgieva.
In a meeting in his office in Salahaddin, President Barzani called for more humanitarian aid from the international community, saying that hosting and providing the basic needs for more than 1.5 million IDPs and Syrian refugees in Kurdistan are beyond the capacity of the KRG. The President thanked political and humanitarian support from the EU countries but added that much more needs to be done.
President Barzani also said that the visits by European officials and their public messages of support give the people and government of Kurdistan hope and confidence to stand firm against ISIS terrorism.
The Swedish Foreign Minister Bildt expressed his country’s full support for the KRG in its fight against the ISIS and said that all EU countries are intent to help the KRG in dealing with the large number of IDPs and that they have also agreed on a longterm strategy to confront the ISIS threat.
The EU Commissioner Kristalina Georgieva also praised the KRG for its generosity towards the IDPs and refugees and said that the EU would continue to provide humanitarian aid to Kurdistan for as long as it is necessary.
President Barzani agreed with the Foreign Minister Bildt that forming a truly inclusive, representative government in Baghdad would constitute a major step for- ward to defeating the ISIS threat, but added that this is the last chance. He attributed the current dire state of affairs to the wrong policies of the outgoing Prime Minister Noori Maliki.
On August 20, Italy’s Prime Minister Matteo Renzi arrived in Erbil and met with President Barzani and the Prime Minster Nechirvan Barzani. He also visited a refugee camp near Erbil which is home to a large number of IDPs from Ninawa province.
Prime Minister Renzi expressed his country’s support for the KRG in its fight against ISIS terrorism and stated that Italy would provide both humanitarian and military aid to the KRG. He added that there is a consensus in the EU that both humanitarian and military aid must be provided to the KRG. On the fight against terrorism, Prime Minister Renzi said that Italy stands by the KRG in this fight, as ISIS is a threat to Italy and not just to Kurdistan.
President Barzani expressed his gratitude to the people and government of Italy for their show of solidarity and offer of support and said that this public support gives the people of Kurdistan more hope and strength in the face of terrorism.
In their meeting, they also discussed the plight of the hundreds of thousands of IDPs and refugees who have sought refuge in Kurdistan. President Barzani said that the KRG would spare no effort to tend to the needs of the IDPs. He added that Kurdistan is proud to be a place where people of different religious and ethnic backgrounds live side by side in peace and that the KRG would do whatever it takes to protect this tradition.
Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi shakes hands with the Iraqi Kurdish leader Massud Barzani, before a meeting on August 20, 2014 in Arbil, the capital of the Kurdish autonomous region of northern Iraq.
Nechirvan Barzani, prime minister of Kurdistan Regional Government, shakes hands with Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi upon his arrival in Arbil the capital of the autonomous Kurdish region of northern Iraq, on August 20, 2014.