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18 Sep 2014

Negotiations to advance trade, economic cooperation between Belarus, Iraqi Kurdistan

MINSK, 18 September (BelTA) – Belarusian Foreign Minister Vladimir Makei went to the Kurdistan Autonomy of the Republic of Iraq on a working visit on 16-18 September. The Belarusian delegation included representatives of the Industry Ministry and the Foreign Ministry, representatives of the business circles, the press service of the Belarusian Foreign Ministry told BelTA.

The source stressed it was the first visit of the Belarusian delegation of such a level to Kurdistan. The Belarusian Foreign Minister met with Kurdistan President Massoud Barzani, who spoke highly of Vladimir Makei’s visit during such a difficult period for the autonomy. The sides discussed possibilities of expanding the partnership, of Belarus helping Iraqi Kurdistan fight the threat of terrorism, including via the social and economic development of the region. Massoud Barzani confirmed the essential interest of the autonomy in stepping up partnership with Belarus in all areas.

The joint meeting with President of the Regional Government of Iraqi Kurdistan Nechirvan Barzani, Vice Prime Minister Qubad Talabani, Minister of Natural Resources Ashti Hawrami, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research Yousif Mohammad focused on ways to bolster trade and economic cooperation between Belarus and Iraqi Kurdistan. The sides agreed to set up a bilateral group for trade and economic cooperation. The first session will be held soon to discuss the implementation of mutually beneficial projects in priority areas of cooperation. The sides committed all the agreements to paper.

Belarusian Foreign Minister Vladimir Makei also met with Samal Sardar, Minister of Industry and Trade of the Regional Government. The sides discussed the business forum that will take place soon to bring together representatives of the business circles of Belarus and Iraqi Kurdistan for the sake of finding partners and establishing long-term commercial relations. The possibility of increasing the shipments of Belarusian machines to Iraqi Kurdistan and the implementation of joint projects in various spheres was discussed.

The meeting with Minister of Agriculture and Water Resources Abdulstar Majeed focused on interaction in agricultural production. The Belarusian side expressed readiness to share its experience of ensuring the country’s food security.

A meeting with Erbil Province Governor took place. The Governor confirmed the intention of the capital city of Iraqi Kurdistan to continue cooperation with the city of Minsk and to implement the agreements that were reached as top officials of the administrations of the cities visited Minsk and Erbil in previous years.

Under the aegis of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Erbil the Belarusian Foreign Minister met with representatives of the business circles of Iraqi Kurdistan. A presentation of products made by enterprises of the Industry Ministry took place.

The Iraqi side expressed interest in the implementation of joint projects in the production sector, agriculture, tourism, and education. An agreement was reached to arrange a visit of representatives of the business circles of Iraqi Kurdistan to Belarus.

In the city of Duhok the Belarusian delegation visited one of Northern Iraq’s largest camps for the refugees, who had been forced to leave the lands occupied by terrorists of the Islamic State terrorist group. Members of the Belarusian delegation talked to Yazidi Kurd families in the refugee camp.

The press service told BelTA that the scale of the tragedy requires involvement of the entire international community. Belarus intends to highlight the problem at the next session of the United Nations General Assembly.

As part of the visit the Belarusian Foreign Minister also granted a number of interviews to regional mass media.

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