Minister Falah Mustafa led a senior delegation from the Department of Foreign Relations to Italy last week where they met Italy’s Deputy Foreign Minister, visited the parliament and Minister Mustafa signed an agreement with the Italian Society for International Organisations.
The delegation consisted of the Kurdistan Regional Government’s Representative to Italy Rezan Kader, the Assistant Head of the DFR Siham Jabali, advisor at the DFR Saleem Ibrahim, as well as Directors at the DFR Hoshang Mohamed, Tawfiq Rahman and Omer Rashid.
During the four-day visit, the delegation met with Deputy Foreign Minister Lapo Pistelli. Minister Mustafa thanked Mr Pistelli for the Foreign Ministry’s cooperation and said, “The KRG places great importance on its relations with Italy and would also like to thank the Representative Office in Italy and the Italian Consulate in Erbil for the role they play in strengthening our mutual relations.”
Deputy Minister Pistelli welcomed the delegation and said he was pleased at the level of development in bilateral relations highlighting the increase in the number of Italian companies working in Kurdistan. Both sides discussed the latest in Kurdish, Iraqi and regional political and security developments. The delegation also met with a number of other senior officials at the Italian Foreign Ministry.
Later during the visit, Minister Mustafa and Italy’s former Foreign Minister Franco Frattini signed a memorandum of understanding between the DFR and the Italian Society for International Organisations (SIOI) which Mr Frattini now heads. The MOU was finalised and signed after Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani approved on a proposal earlier this year.
During his visit to the SIOI, Minister Mustafa spoke at a seminar attended by over 150 diplomats, professors, academics, researchers and journalists. He briefed the audience on the geopolitical influence of Kurdistan, the history of the Kurdish people, the tragedies that they have overcome, the developments since the uprising of 1991 and the future of the region.
Also in the framework of the delegation’s trip to Italy, they visited the Italian Parliament where they were received by the Vice President of the Senate, Valeria Fedeli. Minister Mustafa briefed her on the forthcoming Iraqi parliamentary elections scheduled for April 2014 and spoke about how both Kurdistan and Iraq can benefit from Italy given its history and experiences in democracy. He asked Vice President Fedeli for her support in trying to bring further international recognition of the genocide committed by the former Ba’athist regime against the Kurdish people.
The delegation also visited Perugia University, where Minister Mustafa gave a lecture and met with various officials from the university as well as local government officials.
The delegation met with various diplomats from the international community as well as members of the business community in Italy. They also paid a visit to the Holy See at the Vatican where they met with Cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio. Minister Mustafa outlined Kurdistan’s culture of compassion and co-existence and spoke about the Christian community in the region and the Syrian crisis which had resulted in close to 250,000 refugees fleeing there.