Armenian, Kurdish presidents discuss economic ties in Erbil

Armenian President Vahagn Khachaturyan on Thursday visited Erbil, where he discussed the improvement of Erbil-Yerevan economic relations with Kurdistan Region President Nechirvan Barzani.

“I’m delighted to receive Vahagn Khachaturyan today in Erbil. We had a productive discussion on improving economic relations and exchanged views on latest developments in the region,” President Barzani said in a post on X.

Both leaders touched on “opportunities to develop Armenian relations with Iraq and the Kurdistan Region in the areas of commerce, investment, the private sector, healthcare and tourism. They also highlighted the opportunities for direct flights between Armenia and Iraq and the Kurdistan Region.,” the Kurdistan Region Presidency said in a statement.

Khachaturyan arrived in Baghdad on Wednesday, where, according to a post shared on X by the Armenian leader, he and the Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia’ al-Sudani had “fruitful discussions”.

In the post on X Khachaturyan noted that in the course of the meeting the two stressed the “importance of high-level visits and meetings aimed at strengthening ties in all areas of mutual interest,” as well as exchanging views Exchanged views “on the prospects of joint economic projects,” and reiterating a strong commitment “to foster economic relations including trade and investment.”

Armenia opened a consulate in Erbil in 2021. The consulate’s establishment had been long awaited since a senior Armenian official first announced it back in 2015.

President Barzani and the Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference earlier this month.

“Both sides expressed their desire to further develop relations in all fields and discussed in this regard the agenda of the Kurdistan Region president’s expected visit to Armenia,” read a Kurdistan Region Presidency statement at the time.

The constitution of the Kurdistan Region recognizes Armenians as an ethnic component, provides the right to mother-tongue education in the Armenian language, and reserves one seat in parliament for Armenians. However, a recent ruling by the Iraqi federal court has revoked the seat.

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