Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov arrives in Iraqi Kurdistan, meets with officials

HEWLÊR-Erbil, Iraq’s Kurdistan region,— Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov arrived Iraqi Kurdistan capital city of Erbil on late Monday, following his visit to Baghdad and was received by Prime Minister of Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Masrour Barzani, and took part in meetings with him and other officials.

Earlier in the day, he met Iraqi Minister of Foreign Affairs Mohammed al-Hakim in Baghdad after landing in Iraq in the morning.

Lavrov, accompanied by a delegation of Russian diplomats and trade officials, was scheduled to stay for several days, but due to security concerns as a result of recent mass demonstrations in Baghdad and several other cities, he will now return to Moscow directly after his meetings in Erbil.

During the meeting with Kurdistan PM, both sides emphasized the importance of programs to further develop ties between the two governments. For his part, Barzani welcomed any initiative to promote deeper economic relations with Russia, saying, “We agreed to continue oil and gas investments and explore opportunities in minerals, agriculture and industry.”

They also discussed Islamic State activity in certain areas of Iraq and Syria, with both sides agreeing that the extremist group continues to pose a serious threat.

Barzani and Lavrov concluded their meeting with a detailed discussion of current events in Russia and the importance of continued dialogue between Erbil and Baghdad.

Lavrov also met with leader of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) Masoud Barzani and Kurdistan president Nechirvan Barzani in Erbil where they discussed regional developments and ongoing developments in Syria