In an effort to enhance cooperation and trade relations with the Kurdistan Region, the Swedish Minister of Health and Social Affairs, Mr Göran Hägglund, visited the region with a business delegation this week. During his visit, Sweden announced that it will upgrade its diplomatic presence from an honorary consulate to an Embassy Office.
The visit comes as part of Sweden’s efforts to establish a closer diplomatic and economic relationship with the Kurdistan Region.
In his first visit to the country, Minister Hägglund said that the traditional ties between their countries are strong and that the large Kurdish communities living in Sweden form an important part of their society. He said, “The aim of our visit is to learn more about the health situation and the challenges of the healthcare system in the Kurdistan Region.” He added that his delegation was impressed with the Kurdistan Regional Government’s strong foundations and commitment to develop the healthcare sector.
The delegation participated in several workshops to learn about Region’s needs and how best Swedish companies can use their experience and innovation to support its ongoing development.
In honour of Minister Hägglund’s visit to Kurdistan, the Swedish Ambassador to Iraq Mr Carl Magnus Nesser hosted a reception to bring together healthcare companies and KRG ministers, including the Minister for Health Dr Taher Abdullah. In welcoming Minister Hägglund, Ambassador Nesser revealed their government’s decision to upgrade their presence in Erbil. He said, “I am glad to announce that the Swedish Government has decided to upgrade the current honorary consulate to an Embassy Office.”
Ambassador Nesser also announced a decision by the Swedish Trade Council to establish a satellite office in Kurdistan, as part of their efforts to increase trade between Sweden and Iraq.
The KRG Minister of Health, Dr Taher Abdullah, who accompanied the delegation on visits to local hospitals and pharmaceutical companies, recalled the refuge Sweden has provided to the Kurdish people during many difficult times. He said, ‘I hope this visit marks the beginning of our joint efforts to develop our Region and improve the healthcare sector.’
The Swedish delegation included officials from the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs and several healthcare companies.
The KRG Minister of Education Mr Safeen Mohsin Dizayee and the Governor of Erbil Mr Nawzad Hadi also participated in the reception on 13 December.