By John Lee.
The Chinese Ambassador to Iraq, Mr Ni Jian, met with Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani yesterday to explore ways of strengthening ties with the Kurdistan Region.
Ambassador Jian presented his credentials to the Iraqi President last year November, and this is his first visit to Kurdistan.
In his meeting with Prime Minister Barzani, he said that his government was interested in expanding ties with Kurdistan in the areas of scientific research, culture, business and trade. He said, “There are already a number of Chinese companies active in this region, and we want to attract further Chinese businesses to participate in the rebuilding process of the country as a whole”.
He reiterated his government’s commitment to expanding bilateral relations with Kurdistan and further developing their partnership with Iraq.
The Prime Minister encouraged the ambassador to explore areas of mutual interests, including industry, agriculture and tourism, and welcomed their plans for a consulate in Erbil as an ‘important step’ to establishing political ties and with promoting further exchange of visits.
“We encourage you to use Kurdistan as a gateway for the rest of the Iraqi market and as a platform to increasing business and trade”.
The Head of KRG Department of Foreign Relations, Minister Falah Mustafa participated in the meeting with the Prime Minister and held a separate meeting with the visiting ambassador. Commenting on their plans for a consulate in Erbil, he said: “We currently host four of the five permanent Security Council members, and we have always encouraged others to take advantage of the safety and stability of our region. A Chinese consulate will pave the way for direct communication with our authorities and allow China to truly understand the rich investment opportunities that our region has to offer”.
During his visit, Ambassador Jian also met with the KRG Minister of Interior, Mr Karim Sinjari.