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Italy's Prime Minister visits Erbil and reiterates decision to provide weapons and humanitarian support

THU, 21 AUG 2014 17:54 | KRG Cabinet

President Barzani and Prime Minister Renzi in Erbil

Erbil, Kurdistan, Iraq (KRG.org) – Italy’s Prime Minister Matteo Renzi arrived in the Kurdistan Region to express his country’s support for the KRG and its fight against the terrorists.

Prime Minister Renzi expressed his pleasure upon arriving in Erbil, and President Barzani warmly welcomed the visiting delegation. The President updated Prime Minister Renzi on the latest political and security develops in the Kurdistan Region and throughout Iraq, including the Peshmerga forces’ advances against the terrorists and the humanitarian crisis facting the internally displaced people (IDPs).

The Italian Prime Minister noted that the Italian Parliament has decided to provide the Kurdistan Region with humanitarian support as well as military support in the fight against the terrorists. He emphasised that European Union countries share the determination and a solid consensus to back the KRG with both humanitarian and military assistance.

Prime Minister Renzi also conveyed a message from the Italian Foreign Minister, who is due to chair the European Council’s next round of meetings. He told President Barzani that Kurdistan is not alone in this fight and that Italy stands by the KRG, adding that Kurdistan’s victory against the terrorists will also be a triumph for Italy. He noted that he has come to Kurdistan to express the solidarity of his country and the European Union with the people of Kurdistan, to broaden the relationship between Italy and Kurdistan, and to identify how to best provide the Kurdistan Region with humanitarian and military assistance.

The Prime Minister pointed out that in addition to the provision of weaponry and humanitarian aid, his government would encourage Italian companies to invest in the Kurdistan Region and plans to upgrade its diplomatic mission in Erbil from a representative office to a full consulate. He also invited President Barzani to visit Italy in the near future.

President Barzani lauded the Italian Prime Minister’s gesture. He discussed the terrorist attacks in greater detail and described the dire situation of the IDPs. He stated that the KRG is exerting every effort to assist the IDPs, adding that Kurdistan is proud of its diverse religious and ethnic character and will protect this diversity.

The President detailed the current status of Peshmerga forces and their weaponry. He said that the support of Italy and the European Union has strengthened the KRG’s resolve and inspired hope and resilience among the people of the Kurdistan Region. He shared Prime Minister Renzi’s view on bolstering bilateral ties.

KRG Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani, Deputy Prime Minister Qubad Talabani, Dr Fuad Hussein, Chief of Staff to President Barzani, Head of KRG Foreign Relations Falah Mustafa, and KRG Representative to Italy Rezan Hama Salih all participated in the meeting.

Prime Minister Renzi was received at the airport by Prime Minister Barzani and other KRG officials. He later visited a refugee camp near Erbil, home to a large number of IDPs from Ninevah province.