Poland’s Ambassador to Iraq Mr Stanislaw Smolen met KRG’s Head of Foreign Relations on Wednesday to discuss establishing a Polish representative office in the Kurdistan Region.
Minister Falah Mustafa Bakir, the Kurdistan Regional Government’s Head of Foreign Relations, and Ambassador Smolen discussed the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that is due to be signed between the Małopolska region and the Kurdistan Region later this year. The MOU’s purpose would be to strengthen relations and deepen cooperation between the two regions.
In a further display of the desire to improve cooperation between the two regions, both parties discussed the planned opening of a representative office in Kurdistan.
“We see many sectors in which we as the KRG can benefit from Poland's expertise, such as in education, tourism, archaeology, agriculture, and industry, and we believe that there are many opportunities for Polish business and investment in the Region as well,” Mr Bakir said. “The opening of an official Polish representative office would greatly enhance our ability to coordinate these and similar initiatives,” he added.
Minister Bakir also urged Ambassador Smolen to help ensure that the Halabja attacks and the Anfal campaign committed by Saddam Hussein’s regime receive international recognition as genocide and crimes against humanity. Currently Poland holds the rotating six-month presidency of the European Union, which gives it a platform to highlight the Kurdish genocide, so that genocide is never allowed to happen again in Iraq or anywhere else.
Ambassador Smolen announced a forthcoming archaeological mission to Iraq. Next month, Poland will send a team of archaeologists to train their Iraqi counterparts from various universities throughout Iraq, including Salahaddin University in Erbil. A series of workshops will be conducted by the Polish scientists, allowing them to share their expertise in the field. Simultaneously, Poland will send a team of experts to collaborate on restoring one of the homes in Erbil’s historic citadel. The citadel house project will be joined to the archaeological mission and will give the participants from Kurdistan an invaluable training opportunity.
The ambassador hoped that Poland’s universities will be included in the KRG’s postgraduate scholarship programme. The KRG launched the Human Capacity Development Programme in 2010, with an annual budget of $100 million US dollars for Masters and doctoral scholarships to renowned international universities. The aim is for Kurdistan’s scholars to apply their experience and knowledge gained abroad towards Kurdistan’s development.
The Ambassador was accompanied by Counsellor Jerzy Zielinski. They met with the Minister of Trade and Industry Sinan Celebi; the Minister of Agriculture and Water Resources Jamil Sleiman Haider, and with the President of the Diwan of the Council of Ministers Fawzi Hariri. They also visited Salahaddin University and Iraqi Institute for Conservation of Antiquities and Heritage in Erbil.