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President Barzani meets French foreign minister Kouchner

TUE, 21 AUG 2007 19:02 | KRG Cabinet

Baghdad, Iraq (KRG.org) – Masoud Barzani, President of the Kurdistan Region, yesterday in the Iraqi capital met Bernard Kouchner, France’s recently appointed foreign minister.

President Barzani welcomed Minister Kouchner as a long-time friend of the Kurdish and Iraqi people who had always spoken out against Saddam Hussein’s genocidal regime.

Mr Kouchner met President Barzani during a three-day fact-finding mission, the first visit by a French minister since the liberation of Iraq in 2003. France’s foreign ministry stated that Minister Kouchner was in Iraq to convey a messsage of France’s solidarity with the Iraqi people and to listen to the representatives of all the communities.

At a press conference the same day with Iraq’s President Jalal Talabani, Mr Kouchner said, "It is essential for France to listen to the Iraqis, to affirm that the solutions to their problems must be Iraqi, to listen to all the communities, to preserve the sovereignty, the integrity and democracy in Iraq.”

A French cultural centre has been active in Erbil for several years and the Kurdistan Regional Government has a long-established representative office in Paris. President Barzani looked forward to even closer ties with Paris and to France playing a greater role in Iraq in support of the democratically elected government.

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PRESIDENT BUSH: It's my honor to welcome President Barzani of the Kurdistan regional government of Iraq to the Oval Office. He's a man of courage; he's a man who has stood up to a tyrant.

Transcript of Mr. Masoud Barzani's speech

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Delivered at his inaugural ceremony as President of the Kurdistan Region in the Kurdistan National Assembly, Erbil, Kurdistan-Iraq on 14 June 2005