Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman yesterday began her mission as the Representative to the United States of America.
Minister Falah Mustafa Bakir, Head of the Department of Foreign Relations, met with Ms Abdul Rahman and the staff of the Kurdistan Regional Government Representation in Washington DC to officially declare her as the new representative and to discuss the team's plan for 2015.
The Minister and Ms Abdul Rahman also met Lukman Faily, Iraq's Ambassador in Washington, and held a meeting with the KRG's advisors and consultants.
At the meeting with the Representation staff, Minister Bakir congratulated Ms Abdul Rahman on her new post and reiterated the significance of Kurdistan's relations with the United States.
He said, 'This representation is a critical post and our relationship with America is important for many reasons. We will continue to strengthen our long-term, strategic partnership with the United States in all areas and fields.'
The Minister thanked the Representation team for its work in maintaining good ties with the US Administration, Congress, the think tank and business communities, as well as the Kurdistani diaspora. He highlighted the role of Qubad Talabani, who was KRG Representative to the United States before taking the post of Deputy Prime Minister.
Ms Abdul Rahman echoed the Minister's sentiments and said, 'It is an honour to be appointed to this post. The job is made easier by knowing there is a good team already in place. I look forward to working together to bring the people of Kurdistan and America closer to each other.'
At the Iraqi Embassy, Ambassador Faily welcomed Minister Bakir and Ms Abdul Rahman where he expressed his willingness to work and cooperate with the Representative. The Ambassador, Minister and Representative discussed the cooperation between Erbil and Baghdad on issues such as the peshmerga, the budget and oil exports. They also discussed relations with the United States.
The United States has provided critical military and humanitarian assistance to Iraq and Kurdistan. The peshmerga forces, backed by air strikes by the US and its coalition partners, have retaken much of the territory lost to ISIL terrorists in the summer. The Kurdistan Region received 950,000 displaced Yezidis, Christians and other fellow Iraqis in 2014 alone, in addition to the 1million people who have fled Syria and the violence in other parts of Iraq since 2003.
Minister Bakir and Representative Abdul Rahman will meet US Administration officials, members of Congress and the media this week.
Ms Abdul Rahman assumed the role of Representative to the United States as of January 1, after 10 years as the KRG High Representative to the UK. Previously she had worked as a journalist for 17 years at several British newspapers, including the Financial Times.