On his first visit to Kurdistan, the Greek Ambassador to Iraq, Dr Mercourios B. Karafotias, said that he was surprised to see the level of progress that is being made in the Kurdistan Region.
In his meeting with President Masoud Barzani on Tuesday, the Ambassador assured the President that the Hellenic Republic wants to play a stronger role in the region’s growing success and said that his government would try to upgrade their commercial office in order to have a permanent diplomat posted to Erbil.
President Barzani welcomed the prospect of expanding relations between Kurdistan and Greece saying, ‘Our people have an old relationship with each other. We appreciate the ties that already exist between us, and we are ready to coordinate and work together to further develop these relations.’
The Ambassador underscored his personal support for increasing relations with the Region on many fronts and assured the President that there would be more frequent visits from the Embassy in Baghdad in the future.
Ambassador Karafotias also attended a separate meeting with Minister Falah Mustafa, Head of the KRG Department of Foreign Relations, to be briefed about the KRG’s outreach policy with the international community and with the growing number of diplomats being posted to Erbil.
Reflecting on the growing international interest in the region, Minister Mustafa said, ‘The region is stable and secure, and we are willing to provide any assistance needed in order to upgrade the current level of representation from Greece.’ He added that joining other countries in establishing a diplomatic presence will ensure more awareness of the economic opportunities that exist in the Region and a better understanding of Kurdistan’s political situation.
Both sides also touched on the need for civic ties to be enhanced, especially in regard to Greece’s extensive knowledge and experience in agriculture, and Minister Mustafa highlighted the potential for cooperation between cities and universities as well.
During his three-day visit to the region, the Ambassador also met with KRG Minister of Interior, Mr Karim Sinjari; Minister of Agriculture and Water Resources, Mr Jamil Sleiman Haider; Minister of Housing and Reconstruction, Mr Kamaran Ahmed Abdullah; and Minister of Health, Mr Taher Abdullah Hussein Hawrami.