President Masoud Barzani met Britain’s Foreign Office Minister for the Middle East Alistair Burt and his delegation, which included British Ambassador to Iraq John Jenkins and British Consul General to Erbil Chris Bowers.
Mr Burt informed the President that his government will upgrade the current UK Embassy Office in Erbil to a full consulate general, a decision which President Barzani warmly welcomed. The Minister also conveyed a message from former British Prime Minister Sir John Major that he will visit Kurdistan next year following an invitation by the President.
Minister Burt and his delegation also held meetings with Prime Minister Barham Salih, Interior Minister Karim Sinjari and Natural Resources Minister Ashti Hawrami, and visited the Erbil Criminal Evidence Laboratory, which carries out forensic examination of evidence in the Kurdistan Region and assists the police and courts in other parts of Iraq. The Minister also held a press conference to welcome a British research report commissioned by the Kurdistan Regional Government on honour-based violence.
In the meeting with President Barzani, Mr Burt said, “The British government has made the decision to upgrade our Embassy Office in Erbil to a full consulate general, and this is a sign that our relations are strengthening and that we intend to further improve our relations.” He expressed his appreciation of the economic progress and rapid development in Erbil and said he hoped that with the upgrading of the British consulate, more British businesses will come to Kurdistan.