Kurdistan Regional Government
TUE, 18 JUN 2019 10:04 Erbil, GMT +3

Minister Kouchner opens French Embassy Office in Erbil

SUN, 1 JUN 2008 21:26 | KRG Cabinet

Foreign Minister Kouchner, Dr Frédéric Tissot and Prime Minister Barzani
Erbil, Kurdistan – Iraq (KRG.org) - Dr Bernard Kouchner, France’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, today presided over the opening of the French Embassy Office in Erbil, capital of the Kurdistan Region.

France has had a diplomatic presence in the Erbil for some time, and the opening of the Embassy Office signals its dedication to developing closer ties with the Kurdistan Region.

Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani in his speech thanked France and Dr Kouchner for their steadfast friendship through both good times and bad.

He said, “It was Dr Kouchner who urged the UN to put an end to the mass atrocities [in 1991] the against the Kurdish people. He significantly contributed to UN Security Council Resolution 688, which was submitted by France and then adopted by the United Nations Security Council creating a legal basis for the process that led to the protection of nearly two million Kurdish refugees."

He added, "Minister Kouchner, we are very happy that today we are meeting you under quite different circumstances…Today, we are living in a new phase but we continue to need the support of the international community in the process of reconstruction within the Kurdistan Region and all of Iraq.”

Dr Kouchner, a long-time friend and visitor to the Kurdistan Region, addressed the two hundred invited guests who included French, Iraqi and KRG officials. He said, "I am overwhelmed by this warm welcome and to see all the political and economical progress from when I was here in the 70s and 80s. The Kurdistan Region is becoming a model for all of Iraq to follow."

He added that a strong Kurdistan Region is needed for all of Iraq to succeed. He said, "This embassy office will be a full fledged consulate in Erbil, and we look forward to continued relations for everyone's benefit."

He and Dr Frédéric Tissot, the Head of the French Embassy Office, raised the French and European Union flag and later gave a brief tour of the newly renovated building.

Mr Falah Mustafa Bakir, Head of the KRG’s Department of Foreign Relations, said, “We welcome this visit by our friend Minister Kouchner, as well as the French decision to open an Embassy Office here in Erbil. It is a great step forward and will certainly enhance relations between the Kurdistan Region and France.”

France is the 12th country to open an embassy office or consulate in Erbil, and also funds the Arthur Rimbaud French Cultural Centre inside the city’s ancient citadel. Other countries with diplomatic representatives in the Kurdistan Region include the Austria, Czech Republic, Germany, Iran, Italy, the Republic of Korea, the Netherlands, Russian Federation, Spain, the UK and the US.

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