The KRG’s Head of Foreign Relations today in Erbil met Sweden’s Ambassador to Iraq, who announced that Sweden will upgrade its diplomatic presence in Kurdistan to an Embassy Office.
The Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) Minister Falah Mustafa Bakir received H.E. Carl Magnus Nesser and his delegation. The ambassador said that the Swedish government has decided to formally upgrade the existing honorary consulate to an embassy office and plans to appoint a diplomat to Erbil before the end of the year. He added that the Swedish Trade Council is now officially open in the Kurdistan Region and will be an important vehicle for bringing potential Swedish investors to the region.
Minister Bakir welcomed the Swedish government’s decision. He said, “The KRG will be pleased to receive an official diplomat of the Kingdom of Sweden, and we look forward to strengthening economic, political and cultural relations that the opening of this office will make possible.” He added, “The people of Kurdistan will never forget the support of the Swedish people and government by embracing the large number of Kurds who had to flee the former regime.”
The Swedish delegation, who were on a five-day visit to the Kurdistan Region, updated Minister Bakir on the success of their meetings so far and said that they hope to do more work together in several important sectors. For example, the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs and a Swedish company will very soon sign a MOU, which came about thanks to the hard work of the Swedish Trade Council.
Minister Bakir highlighted possible ways of adding new facets to the relationship, such as strengthening cultural and educational links especially given the large number of Kurds living in the Kurdistan Region who have returned from the Diaspora in Sweden. Minister Bakir went on to brief the ambassador on the latest political and security developments in the Region and Iraq as a whole, as well as the KRG’s position on the latest issues in the wider Middle East.
Ambassador Nesser spoke about the progress his delegation has witnessed in Kurdistan, pointing out the steady increase in the number of Swedish companies arriving to do business. He cited the example of Volvo appointing a local partner to help sell and distribute its products, and he indicated that the Swedish government views the Kurdistan Region as a gateway to doing business in the rest of Iraq.
The ambassador expressed his pleasure at being able to visit the Kurdistan Region again, and he commended the Department of Foreign Relations for continually helping to strengthen the friendship between Sweden and Kurdistan.