The new Head of Sweden’s Embassy Section Office, Jessica Svärdström, met with the Head of the Department of Foreign Relations, Minister Falah Mustafa, as part of her introductory meetings since assuming her new role.
Ms Svärdström is also the Deputy Chief of Mission at the Embassy of the Kingdom of Sweden to Iraq. Siham Jabali, the Assistant Head of the DFR also attended the meeting.
Minister Mustafa congratulated Ms Svärdström on her new post and assured her that the Kurdistan Regional Government, and the Department of Foreign Relations in particular, are ready to assist her in her work. He said, 'We will continue to support the efforts and activities of your mission here in Kurdistan and we are sure that our relations will continue to prosper.'
Ms Svärdström thanked the DFR for all the support that has been provided since her arrival in Kurdistan. She spoke about Sweden’s keen interest in increasing relations with the Kurdistan Region across several sectors. They discussed the areas of current cooperation as well as ways of increasing this cooperation through educational, economic and cultural ties.
The relationship between Kurdistan and Sweden has flourished because of the large number of Kurds who now call Sweden home, as well as a significant number of Kurds returning from Sweden who have put the knowledge and expertise they gained there towards the development of Kurdistan.
Both sides also discussed the current political developments in the Kurdistan Region with a particular focus on the successful parliamentary elections in Kurdistan last month. They also spoke of the relationship with Baghdad and the issues that are yet to be resolved between the two capitals even though committees have been established to look into them. Minister Mustafa said, 'We expect the committee meetings between Erbil and Baghdad to start soon in order to address the outstanding issues.'
Finally they discussed the latest developments in the Syrian crisis and particularly the impact and needs of the refugees who are in Kurdistan. Minister Mustafa said, 'We continue to ask the international community for any form of humanitarian assistance that can be sent either by the countries themselves or via UN agencies to the refugees. The needs are great and with winter quickly approaching, time is of the essence.'