Kurdish foreign relations head talks investment opportunities in Korea

Iraq, September 1, 2016

The Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) head of foreign relations is in South Korea, meeting with Korean political leaders and institutions to discuss building further ties and ongoing challenges currently facing the region.

“Shared #KRG perspective on needs, business & investment opportunities post #ISIS era” at the Korea Institute for International Economic Policy in Seoul, Falah Mustafa tweeted on Wednesday.

On Wednesday, Mustafa also met with the Executive Director of the Export-Import Bank of Korea, Chang Younghoon.

In the meeting, which was also attended by the Iraqi ambassador to Korea, they discussed the causes of the Kurdistan Region’s financial crisis, including the fall in oil prices and the war with the Islamic State. Mustafa informed the Korean banker of the detrimental effect the financial woes were having on public projects and called on the bank to finance public projects by Korean companies in Kurdistan.

Chang “stressed the readiness of South Korean companies for the implementation and completion of projects in the Kurdistan Region, particularly those projects that are supervised by KOICA,” the Korean International Cooperation Agency, and discussed with Mustafa the legal requirements for Korea financing such public projects in the Kurdistan Region.

KOICA has had an office in Erbil since 2004. It manages KOICA projects and training programs, including sponsorship programs.

On Tuesday, Mustafa met separately with Kim Hyoung-zhen, the Deputy Minister for Political Affairs at the Ministry, and member of the Korean national assembly Kim Se-Yeon. MP Kim had previously visited the Kurdistan Region in 2013.

In both meetings, Mustafa briefed the Korean lawmakers on the challenges facing the Kurdistan Region, financially, militarily, and the humanitarian crisis of nearly two million internally displaced (IDPs) and refugees living in the region.

Stressing the region’s economic crisis, Mustafa told MP Kim that the Kurdistan Region needs continued international assistance on both the humanitarian and military fronts. Deputy Minister Kim stated his wish to see the government in Seoul continue to provide humanitarian aid to the region.

Mustafa and Deputy Minister Kim also discussed “areas of potential cooperation in order to further advance bilateral ties between both governments,” reads a statement issued by the KRG’s Department of Foreign Relations.

Mustafa also called on the Korean Parliament to “support KRG’s efforts in gaining international recognition for the crimes committed against Ezidi Kurds and others as acts of genocide,” according to the statement.