Sweden’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, Margot Wallstrom, received Minister Falah Mustafa, Head of the KRG Foreign Relations, on Monday to discuss bilateral ties and latest humanitarian and security developments in Kurdistan and the wider region.
In welcoming Minister Mustafa and his accompanying delegation, Foreign Minister Wallstrom said, “We enjoy excellent relations with the Kurdistan Region and we are eager and willing to expand and further strengthen this relation for the benefit of both sides.”
Minister Mustafa thanked Foreign Minister Wallstrom for her hospitality and expressed the strong desire of the Kurdistan Regional Government to benefit form Sweden’s experience and knowledge in further advancing the Kurdistan Region.
The Minister briefed the foreign minister on the Peshmerga advances against the ISIS terrorists and the efforts of the Kurdistan Regional Government in dealing with nearly tow million refugees and internally displaced Persons.
Commending the KRG for the hospitality it continues to provide to the Syrian refugees and IDPs, the Foreign Minister pledged that Sweden will continue to provide humanitarian support to the IDPs and refugees in the Kurdistan Region.
Referring to the bravery of Peshmerga forces, the Foreign Minister stated, “Peshmerga forces have proven that they are a reliable force. They have been an important element in the fight against ISIS. There is an urgent need to address the problem of ISIS and to support the Peshmerga forces.”She added, “The government of Sweden is exploring the possibility of sending military advisor to the Kurdistan Region to train Peshmerga forces.”
Both sides discussed the crimes committed against Yezidis and other minorities by the ISIS terrorists. Foreign Minister Wallstrom conveyed the support of Sweden for the KRG’ efforts in seeking international recognition of terrorist crimes committed against religious and ethnic minorities as acts of genocide.
Considering the strong historical ties and the need to further facilitate cooperation between Kurdistan and Sweden, the KRG Minister emphasized the necessity to upgrade the level of Swedish representation in Erbil to consulate general. The Minister extended an invitation to the Foreign Minister to visit the Kurdistan Region in a near future.
Pointing to the Region’s extensive economic potential, Minister Mustafa stated, “There is a golden opportunity for Swedish companies, our needs represent significant investment potential for your businesses.”
Talking about the role of Kurdish Diaspora in Sweden, both side stressed the importance to make use of all the knowledge and experience of the Kurdish Diaspora in Sweden in strengthening relations between Sweden and the Kurdistan Region.
The meeting was followed by a joint press conference where both ministers responded to questions from reporters.
Mr Karwan Jamal, Deputy Head of DFR, Mr. Shoresh Rahim, KRG Representative to Sweden, Mr. Robert Rydberg, Head of Department for Middle East and North Africa, and Laila Naraghi, political advisor to the minister of foreign affairs as well as other officials from both sides attended the meeting.
Minister Mustafa is on a three-day official visit to Stockholm.