In the meeting between Minister Falah Mustafa, Head of the KRG Foreign Relations, and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Belgium Didier Reynders, military as well as humanitarian aid for the Kurdistan Region were at top of the list of priorities discussed.
Minister Mustafa welcomed Minister Reynders in his first visit to the Kurdistan Region and expressed the desire of the Kurdistan Regional Government to establish strong ties between the Region and Belgium.
He briefed the visiting Minister on difficulties facing the Kurdistan Region in continuing the fight against ISIS and caring for over 1.8 million refugees and internally displaced persons.
He expressed his gratitude to the government of Belgium for the assistance it has provided to the Kurdistan Region and reaffirmed the necessity of further commitment of the international community to assist Kurdistan Region in fighting the ISIS terrorists and providing humanitarian relief for the refugees and IDPs.
Minister Mustafa encouraged Belgium to explore the possibility of opening a representation office of the government of Belgium in Kurdistan as a first step to establishing and broadening bilateral ties on both fronts.
Commenting on the role of Peshmerga forces in the fight against ISIS, Minister Reynders said “The Peshmerga forces have done an impressive job. We have seen real motivation from the Peshmerga forces in this fight and they deserve to receive continued support from the Counter-ISIS coalition.”
He added, “KRG has done a remarkable job in responding to the immediate challenges of refugee and IDPs influx.” The Minister also commended KRG for respecting the rights of minorities in the Kurdistan Region regardless of their ethnic and religious background. Minister Reynders stressed that Belgium is committed to continue its support to the Kurdistan Region during this challenging time.
Minister Reynders announced that the government of Belgium will open an honorary consulate in Erbil as first step in the process of strengthening bilateral ties between Erbil and Brussels.
Both Ministers expressed willingness to explore areas of potential cooperation between Belgium and Kurdistan through exchange of visits between the relevant authorities of both sides. The meeting was followed by a joint press conference.
The meeting was also attended by Thomas Baekelandt, Ambassador of Belgium to Iraq, Delavar Ajgeiy, KRG Representative to the European Union and several other officials of both sides.