The Dutch Minister for Migration and State Secretary of Security and Justice, Mr Fred Teeven, met with Minister Falah Mustafa as part of his visit to the Kurdistan Region to discuss bilateral ties.
The visit is part of an effort to further strengthen ties between Kurdistan and the Netherlands.
Minister Mustafa expressed his appreciation to the delegation on behalf of the KRG for their assistance to the Kurdish community during times of difficulty. He said, “We have a historical relationship with the Netherlands. But we are not living in the past today, we are focused on the future and to delivering prosperity to our people.”
The two sides also touched on ways of strengthening ties between Kurdistan and the Netherlands. Minister Mustafa said that the KRG wants to interact with the international community and welcomes the exchange of visits. He said, “These visits are important as they allow you to see the developments firsthand.”
The meeting included detailed discussions about the role the Netherlands can play in promoting the rule of law, advancing human rights, and encouraging transparency and accountability in Kurdistan. It later touched on the relationship between Erbil and Baghdad, as well as on regional developments.
Minister Mustafa also called for the establishment of an EU Office in Erbil, similar to the one in Baghdad to ensure the Kurdish position is conveyed to the European Union, saying that the time to do so is now. He added that this would help further strengthen political, economic and cultural ties.
Dutch Minister Teeven expressed his appreciation for the warm hospitality and said he was surprised by the notable difference between Kurdistan and the rest of Iraq. He assured Minister Mustafa that he would follow up discussions with his colleagues in Brussels to convey the request for an EU Office in Erbil. He added that it is important for Kurdistan to be covered in specific agreements between Iraq and EU to ensure that it can benefit.
He said, “We have had an enjoyable and productive visit to Kurdistan, and I will explore some of these areas with my colleagues in the Netherlands and in the EU Commission.”
Minister Teeven was accompanied by the Dutch Ambassador to Iraq, Mr. Harry Molenaar; Head of the Embassy Liaison Office in Erbil, Mr. Jeroen Kelderhuis, as well as several other senior officials from his ministry.
Several officials from the Department of Foreign Relations also attended the meeting, including the Deputy Head, Mr Karwan Jamal; Ms Siham Jabali, Assistant-Head of DFR, and other advisors and staff members.