France does not leave friends behind

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – The French Consul General in Erbil on Tuesday stated that France would continue supporting the Kurdistan Region and put more effort into resolving the stranded issues between Erbil and Baghdad.

In an exclusive interview with Kurdistan 24, French Consul General Dominique Mas revealed that the purpose of French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian’s visit to Erbil was to convey France’s appreciation to Kurdistan and Peshmerga forces.

Le Drian arrived in Erbil on Monday and met with officials from the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), including Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani.

According to Mas, Le Drian’s trip was an opportunity for France “to reiterate the friendship it shares with the people of the Kurdistan Region.”

“President Emmanuel Macron’s meeting with Prime Minister Barzani and Deputy PM Qubad Talabani in Paris [last year] proves that France does not leave its friends behind,” Mas told Kurdistan 24, referring to a KRG delegation which visited Paris following the Oct. 16 military takeover of Kirkuk.

The French diplomat added that his country respects Kurdish rights “within a democratic, federal Iraq where the rights of Kurdish citizens are guaranteed in accordance with the Iraqi Constitution.”

“France thanks the Peshmerga forces for their fight against the Islamic State,” Mas added, noting French military advisers continue to train the Kurdish forces.

He also explained France is interested in “reconciliation between all components in Iraq,” and encourages all sides “to resolve problems related to the people of the Kurdistan Region,” including the re-opening of airports and delivery of public employee salaries.

“France hopes the Iraqi government and the KRG hold more meetings to resolve problems between the two sides through dialogue,” Mas concluded.

Editing by Karzan Sulaivany

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