Kurdistan Regional Government
SAT, 17 NOV 2018 11:52 Erbil, GMT +3

Kurdistan Region delegation meets Lebanese Prime Minister

SUN, 8 MAR 2009 17:45 | KRG Cabinet

Minister Falah Mustafa Bakir gives Prime Minister Siniora a Kurdistan photographic history book
Beirut, Lebanon (KRG.org) – A delegation from the Kurdistan Region, on the invitation of the Lebanese-Kurdistan Friendship Association, conducted a four-day visit to Lebanon to further strengthen the close relations between the two countries.

The delegation was received by Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora, and met Foreign Minister Fawzi Salloukh, Agriculture Minister Elias Skaff, Culture Minister Tamam Salam, Economy and Trade Minister Mohammad al-Safadi, and Tourism Minister Elie Marouni. They also met Patriarch Nasrallah Boutros Sfeir and held several meetings with members of the business community.

The delegation included businessmen, Contractors Union representatives, the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Minister of Tourism Nimrud Baito and the Head of the KRG Department of Foreign Relations Minister Falah Mustafa Bakir.

The Chamber of Commerce, Industry & Agriculture of Beirut and Mt. Lebanon signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Kurdistan Region Chambers of Commerce and Industry to further economic cooperation.

Minister Baito said, “There is a great deal that we can learn from Lebanon. Tourism requires expertise in hospitality and the preservation of historical sites, and cooperation with Lebanon is most welcome in this regard.” He added, “As a legitimate entity within federal Iraq, our cooperation with Lebanon and its institutions is guaranteed by the Iraqi Constitution.”

The visit comes as part of Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani’s policy to develop strong ties with the international community, including with neighbours and the nations of the Arab world.

Minister Bakir said, “Lebanon is the second largest investor in our Region. They are active in a variety of fields, from trade to education to banking, and have a renowned history of professionalism.”

He added, “As our economic cooperation continues to grow, I hope Lebanon and other Arab states engage further with the Kurdistan Region as a gateway to the rest of Iraq. Finally, I would like to express my deep appreciation to the Lebanese-Kurdistan Friendship Association for their hard work in arranging this visit.”

Both sides expressed interest at the possibility of establishing a Lebanese diplomatic office in Erbil to facilitate commercial cooperation and support Lebanese nationals working in the Kurdistan Region.

The Kurdistan Region delegation highlighted their difficult history and the struggle for democracy, as well as their role in promoting a federal, pluralistic Iraq in cooperation with fellow Iraqis. The leadership of the Kurdistan Region chose to remain a part of Iraq, and has stressed dialogue, tolerance and peaceful coexistence among Arabs and Kurds as a key goal. The Kurdistan Region has been active in supporting refugees from the South and serving as a safe haven for those fleeing sectarian violence, especially Christians, and those who had struggled during drought seasons in the past.

Lebanon’s ministers were enthusiastic regarding the potential for the development of increased commercial and economic ties, training programmes, legislative assistance, and the exchange of experiences. The Kurdistan Region delegation invited Lebanese officials to visit the Kurdistan Region, and both sides were eager to move forward to explore further opportunities and future visits.