Growing bilateral relations between Norway and Kurdistan
by Roni Alasor and Lorin Sarkisian
Brussels, 13June 2015 - Middle East Diplomatic (MED) - Norway and Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) decided to strengthen their bilateral relations. Common projects and future initiatives have been discussed during the visit of Kurdish Foreign Minister Falah Mustafa in Norway.
In the meeting, with Minister Mustafa, Børge Brende, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Norway announced that Norway will open representation in Kurdistan Region. The Norwegian and Kurdish governments will also cooperate in the field of fight against ISIS and the humanitarian conditions of refugees and IDPs in Kurdistan Region.
Norway has been supporting Kurds since Halabja’s chemical attack in 1988. More recently, Norway participated with substantial military and humanitarian support in the international efforts to help Kurds in their fight against ISIS.
During the meeting with Minister Mustafa, the Norwegian Foreign Minister praised the role of Kurdish fighters in the struggle against ISIS. Minister Brende also thanked KRG for taking care of 1.8 million refugees and IDPs: “We are very committed to continue our military and humanitarian support for Iraq and the Kurdistan Region during this challenging time.”
Minister Mustafa expressed the gratitude of KRG for Norway’s continued support and stressed that the Kurdish fighters will continue the struggle against ISIS, Al Qaida and other terrorist groups.
Minister Mustafa also met with Jøran Kallmyr, State Secretary at the Norwegian Ministry of Justice and Public Security. They discussed the crimes committed by ISIS terrorists against the religious and ethnic minorities in the Kurdistan Region. State Secretary Kallmyr expressed hope that the perpetrators of these crimes are prosecuted by the international law.
On the issue of foreign fighters joining ISIS in Iraq and Syria, both sides underlined the importance of establishing a comprehensive set of international guidelines in order to stop foreign fighters joining ISIS.
“The international community has a responsibility to do whatever it takes to prevent foreign fighters from joining ISIS”, said Kallmyr and added that Norway has been able to reduce the number of foreign fighters joining ISIS from Norway.