President Nechirvan Barzani discusses regional developments with Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif

- 20 July 2020

President Nechirvan Barzani discusses regional developments with Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif 

Erbil, Kurdistan Region, July 19, 2020

Kurdistan Region President Nechirvan Barzani received Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and his accompanying delegation in Erbil on Sunday.

Bilateral relations between the Kurdistan Region and Iran, the Erbil-Baghdad pending issues and efforts to resolve them through dialogue were discussed at the meeting. The two sides shed light on the latest developments in the wider region, the COVID-19 pandemic and its implications, particularly on the economy, and the war against terror in Iraq. 

At the meeting, which was also attended by the Kurdistan Region Vice Presidents, Iran’s Ambassador to Baghdad and a number of senior officials from both sides, President Nechirvan Barzani and Foreign Minister Zarif underlined the need to strengthen Iraq’s and Kurdistan Region’s relations with Iran, the importance of stability in Iraq and the region and resolving disputes through dialogue and understanding. 

Following their meeting, a press conference was held in which President Nechirvan Barzani expressed delight over the visit of Iran’s Foreign Minister and his accompanying delegation and stated that the Kurdistan Region highly values relations with neighboring countries, and described Iran as a very important neighbor for Iraq and the Kurdistan Region.  

The President said: “The Kurdistan Region will never forget the support and assistance extended by the Islamic Republic and the people of Iran during the difficult times. Iran has always stood by the Kurdistan Region as a friend and a neighbor. Friendly relations based on mutual interests and respect is priority and important.”

President Nechirvan Barzani stressed that the Kurdistan Region has historic, economic, social and cultural ties with the Islamic Republic in addition to an enormous trade exchange. He emphasized that advancing these ties and expanding the cooperation between Iraq and the Kurdistan Region with the Islamic Republic in areas of mutual importance and interest has always been cherished and sought after by the Kurdistan Region.  

“We discussed, with His Excellency the Foreign Minister, the latest developments in the wider region and the position and significance of Iran’s role in the regional equations. We also highlighted the need and importance of stability in Iraq and the entire region and resolving disputes and disagreements peacefully though understanding and dialogue”, said the President.

The President also said that both sides exchanged views regarding the COVID-19 outbreak and its economic impacts on trade movements at the border gates between the Kurdistan Region and Iran and ways to confront the pandemic. The President added that both sides also discussed Iran’s experience in fighting the virus. 

The President concluded by expressing his appreciation to the ambassador of the Islamic Republic in Baghdad and the country’s Consul Generals in Erbil and Slemani who have played crucial roles in advancing ties between both sides.

On his part, Foreign Minister Zarif said: “I thank my very good friend and brother Mr. Nechirvan Barzani, the esteemed President of the Kurdistan Region, for his hospitality in beautiful Erbil. I am very delighted to visit the Region for the third time as Foreign Minister as part of my official visits to Iraq.”

The Minister stated that: “Iraq, with all its religious and ethnic groups, is very dear to us, a good neighbor and it is a priority in our policies. We seek friendly and brotherly ties and cooperation within Iraq and also between Iraq and the regional countries in general, especially with the Islamic Republic of Iran.”

He added: “We are very pleased that at present the region has understood the realities of the new Iraq. Of course, it took a long time for some countries of the region to accept the realities in the new Iraq. Nevertheless, we are very happy that the region has accepted this reality of an Iraq that consists of various ethnic groups and has a president who is an Iraqi Kurd. It is also very important that Iraq has been recognized and dealt with in our region as an axis for peace and stability.”

Mr. Zarif also said: “Iran welcomes this role of Iraq, meanwhile we maintain very close relations with our sisters and brothers in the Kurdistan Region, with whom we have very close cultural and even familial ties; and also, good economic relations with the Kurdistan Region and Iraq. Our economic cooperation with Iraq is continuously flourishing.” 

The Foreign Minister further elaborated: “We are happy that not even the Coronavirus was able to stop our economic ties with Iraq and the Kurdistan Region. Our border gates with the Kurdistan Region have always been open and I hope they remain so.”

“We are ready to offer our support and experience to our friends in the Kurdistan Region, Iraq and the wider region to confront this dangerous virus. We are ready to further expand our economic ties with Iraq and cooperate on long-term projects, particularly in the areas of industrial regions, railways and energy sector. I hope to build on these opportunities in the upcoming visit of Iraq’s Prime Minister to Tehran ‪next Tuesday,” Mr. Zarif added.

“Once again I thank Mr. Nechirvan Barzani, the Kurdistan Regional Government and its officials for their warm hospitality and I hope that our relations continue to get stronger. We also remember Martyr Soleimani who played an outstanding role in supporting the brave Iraqi soldiers and the brave Peshmerga of Kurdistan against the ISIS and preventing their threats in Erbil. We salute his memory and hope that the brotherly ties between Iran, the Kurdistan Region and Iraq remain strong. I thank you again for your hospitality Mr. President”, Mr. Zarif concluded.