Welcoming the French Ambassador to the Kurdistan Region on Sunday, Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani discussed the Region’s growing ties with France as well as ongoing events in the broader region.
On his first official visit to Kurdistan since the arrival of the new French Consul General, Mr Alain Guépratte, Ambassador Denis Gauer announced the opening of a new visa section in France’s Erbil Consulate General by the end of the year.
“We are ready to fully develop our relations with Kurdistan, and we are encouraging French businesses to invest in the region,” the Ambassador said, emphasising that the new services would support these efforts, allowing residents and visitors in Kurdistan to receive French visas by applying directly to the Consulate.
The Prime Minister and Ambassador spoke at length about the Syrian crisis and the efforts that the government and people of the Kurdistan Region are making to address the needs of the more than 30,000 refugees who have already found shelter in the Region.
“We are doing everything we can to ensure that these people are not only provided food and shelter, but that they are also given real opportunities to continue their lives and their education here,” the Prime Minister said.
With hundreds of additional refugees arriving every day and no support coming from Baghdad, the $10 million that the KRG has allocated to address this issue will not last long. Prime Minister Barzani encouraged the Ambassador to convey the message back to Paris that greater international attention needs to be paid to this crisis both to end the fighting and to provide for the needs of those who have been victimized by it.