The Head of the KRG Department of Foreign Relations, Minister Falah Mustafa, conducted meetings with Spanish Foreign Ministry and Parliamentary officials and spoke at a think tank in an effort to further expand the growing relationship between the KRG and Spain.
Iraq's Ambassador to Spain, Mr. Wadee al-Batti, and the KRG Representative to Spain, Mr. Daban Shadala, accompanied the Minister, who also visited Barcelona on his official trip where he spoke at the CIDOB think tank.
Mr. Gonzalo Benito, the Spanish Foreign Ministry's Secretary of State for International Relations, said, "We follow your success in Kurdistan closely. We are worried about the entire region but Kurdistan is an exception and is stable and secure." He expressed his support for the many Spanish firms eager to work in Kurdistan.
Minister Mustafa said, "We want to have a long term, mutually beneficial relationship with Spain, and for this reason we strongly encourage Spain to upgrade its diplomatic representation in Erbil." The Minister also discussed upcoming Iraqi elections, the crisis in Syria, and the KRG campaign to achieve international recognition of the genocide perpetrated by the previous regime.
The delegation was then received by the President of the Senate's Foreign Affairs Commission, Mr. Alejandro Munoz Alonso. Among other matters, the delegation emphasized the importance of an all-party parliamentary group to support Spain's growing relationship with Kurdistan.
Such groups already exist in other parliaments in Europe and beyond. Mr. Alonso expressed support for this concept, for the genocide recognition campaign, and for the prospect of upgrading Spain's diplomatic presence in Erbil.
Minister Mustafa also spoke at the Casa Arabe, a Madrid-based think tank, outlining the KRG view of the Middle East, issues of sovereignty, national identity, and the future of democracy in the region and in Iraq. Regarding Iraq, the Minister explained the importance of the constitution and power-sharing in governance, also discussing the nuances of federalism and confederation and how this applies to the Iraqi state.
In addition the KRG delegation also visited the Spanish Agency for International Cooperation to discuss possible areas of cooperation as well as ways in which to gain from Spain's experience and expertise.
After meeting with a number of other Spanish officials, foreign diplomats, and members of the Iraqi Embassy in Madrid, Minister Mustafa paid a visit to the KRG Representation Office in Madrid to demonstrate support for their efforts in enhancing the growing relationship.
The number and scope of KRG representations throughout the world has expanded, a reflection of Kurdistan's increased global economic and diplomatic presence. Minister Mustafa also attended the Kuwaiti National Day Reception at the Intercontinental Hotel in Madrid.