Erbil, Kurdistan Region, Iraq (cabinet.gov.krd) – In a ceremony held yesterday, Italy’s Consulate opened in Erbil, which was attended by the President of Italian Senate, Mr. Pietro Grasso and his accompanying delegation, Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani, Deputy Speaker of the Kurdistan Parliament and a number of Kurdistan Regional Government ministers and officials.
In his speech, Prime Minister Barzani expressed happiness at Italy raising its official representation in Erbil to the consulate level. He said this is an important step that offers to strengthen relations between the Kurdistan Region and Italy in various fields, as well as acknowledging the strong support of Italy for the people of Iraq in general and the Kurdistan Region in particular.
Italian Senate President Grasso highlighted strong relations between Italy and the Kurdistan Region, the achievements of Peshmerga forces in confronting the Islamic State terrorist organisation, ISIS,, and the KRG’s assistance to an extraordinary number of refugees and internally displaced people, IDPs. He expressed his country’s readiness to continue its support to the Region, notably military assistance.
Prime Minister Barzani noted that the Prime Minister of Italy was the first prime minister to visit the Region after ISIS attacks began last year and stressed that in the war against terrorism Italy has been actively supporting the people and government of the Region. He expressed gratitude to Italy for its humanitarian and military assistance.
Prime Minister Barzani took the opportunity to wish Merry Christmas to the Italian officers and soldiers in the Kurdistan Region, who are training Peshmerga forces. In a message to their families, Prime Minister Barzani noted Italy’s military is strengthening capabilities of brave and courageous Peshmerga forces along a thousand-kilometer frontline to confront a barbaric terrorist organisation that threatens the international community.
During a meeting following the ceremony, Prime Minister Barzani and Italian Senate President Grasso discussed further strengthening of bilateral relations between the Kurdistan Region and Italy and continuing support in the war against ISIS.