Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) believes that Kurdistan will greatly benefit from the financial aid being sent to Iraq by Japan and that the autonomous region eagerly awaits their share. The Japanese Ambassador to Iraq, Fumio Iwai, met with Prime Minister Barzani this week to discuss the funding with a small delegation. Ambassador Iwai wanted to express gratitude to Kurdistan “for supporting its tasks and activities during the period of its work,” according to a transcript taken during the meeting. Iwai also touched on his offices work “to strengthen relations between the Kurdistan Region and Japan,” during his time as an Ambassador to Iraq.

Barzani said that the KRG was grateful for their “role in strengthening relations between Japan and Iraq in general and between them and the Kurdistan Region in particular.” Prime Minister Barzani assured Ambassador Iwai that the KRG was eager to receive part of Japan’s assistance program to the country. Japan has given around $440 million through various humanitarian relief efforts through the United Nations since 2014. Currently, Kurdistan has become a bastion of refuge for nearly 1.4 million refugees and internally displaced people (IDPs). Many of them were victims of the Islamic States reign of terror in the region.

This influx of refugees has led Kurdistan and Iraq as a whole to seek international aid contributions from various United Nations based allies. This has come from many of the European countries in the form of sustenance and infrastructure repair/fabrication. Iwai and Barzani also went over Iraq’s political process and the need for new corruption free government, especially in terms of parliament. They agreed that the multiple fractured political parties must unify in order to give the citizens of Iraq and Kurdistan the system of governance they need. Ambassador Iwai entered office as such in October of 2014 and is considered to be an exceptional diplomat; he is fluent in Arabic and has taken great effort to improve the nation’s international standing.

Featured image: Japan’s outgoing Ambassador to Iraq Fumio Iwai (left) meets with Kurdistan Region Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani in Erbil, July 5, 2018. | KRG

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