Ashton on first visit in Federal Kurdistan (Iraq)

By Roni Alasor / Lorin Sarkisian – Brussels, 18 June 2013 – Ararat News (ANP) – Catherine Ashton, EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs visited for first time Federal Kurdistan Region on Monday and met with the Kurdish authorities. The visit was part of Ashton’s tour in the Middle East, including Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon, Egypt, Israel and Palestine.

Ashton, who is also Vice President of the European Commission, met President Masoud Barzani and Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani, Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Deputy Prime Minister Imad Ahmad, President Barzani’s Chief of Staff Dr Fuad Hussein, the Head of the Department of Foreign Relations Minister Falah Mustafa Bakir, as well as the Head of KRG Mission to EU, Delaver Ajgeiy and other Kurdish senior officials and government representatives.

The Kurdish Government notes that Ashton welcomed the positive developments in Kurdistan and underlined that Kurdish people have right to keep and protect all the benefits they acquired recently after decades of tragic past. Regarding the international recognition of the genocide against Kurdish people during Saddam Hussein’s regime, Ashton also showed EU’s readiness to contribute for that. KRG and Iraqi relations were also discussed during Ashton’s meeting with President Barzani. EU High Representative Ashton, encouraged the dialogue and negotiations between Kurdistan and Bagdad in order to solve all the questions.

Among the other discussed issues at the meeting were the political developments in the Middle East, the situation in Syria and the Syrian refugees coming to Kurdistan. President Barzani regretted the lack of aid from the international community to the Syrian refugees in Federal Kurdistan. EU foreign affairs chief Ashton thanked KRG for accommodating over 150 000 Syrian refugees and said that EU will work on providing possibilities for aid to the refugees in Kurdistan Region.