Kurdistan Regional Government Prime Minister, Nechirvan Barzani, yesterday received Belgian Government Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Didier Reynders and his accompanying delegation.
Mr. Reynders introduced Belgium’s new Ambassador to Iraq, who will begin his duties in December.
Belgian Deputy Prime Minister Reynders indicated his country aims to implement several projects in the fields of energy and water in the Kurdistan Region as its Investment Law offers attractive assistance and incentives to foreign investors.
Prime Minister Barzani highlighted the Region’s economic difficulties that emerged after Baghdad withheld Kurdistan Region’s budget since early 2014, leading to suspension of many public service projects. He stated, however, that private sector projects are maintaining momentum. Foreign investors and business owners are regaining confidence that the Region is secure and offers significant incentives and opportunities.
Regarding the situation of refugees and internally displaced persons, IDPs, Prime Minister Barzani pointed out that international assistance addresses only emergency needs while the KRG struggles to other essential needs. He noted that UN agencies have been unable to satisfactorily meet the requirements.
Prime Minister Barzani emphasised that Peshmerga forces are fighting a most barbaric terrorist organization on behalf of the entire world.
Regarding the relations between Erbil and Baghdad, Prime Minister Barzani said the current Iraq Government attitude towards the Kurdistan Region is the same as that of the former Iraqi cabinet. It continues to withhold the Kurdistan Region’s budget that includes civil servant salaries. It avoids including Kurdistan Region representatives in international conferences, held on the Iraq situation and the war against the Islamic State terrorist organization. He warned that this situation is not sustainable.
Prime Minister Barzani expressed his wishes that Belgium’s new Ambassador to Iraq will be successful in his duty, reiterating his government’s full support and cooperation.