15:53:22 18 Oct. 2012
UK Secretary of State calls for increased diplomatic presence in Erbil

Erbil, Kurdistan – Iraq ( – The United Kingdom’s Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, William Hague, Tuesday released a new Iraq Strategy, calling to focus the UK’s staff and resources in Iraq where they will be most effective.

“The review of our resources in Iraq has confirmed that the Kurdistan Region continues to attract significant interest from British businesses. I am therefore increasing our staffing levels in Erbil,” Secretary Hague said.

Referencing the more than 40 British companies that attended the Erbil International Trade Fair this week in coordination with the UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) organization, the Secretary added: “We will recruit a new UKTI Commercial Attaché to expand the Consulate General’s already successful commercial Section.”

Secretary Hague also highlighted the importance of continuing and strengthening durable political relationships between Kurdistan Region and Britain, saying: “I have also made clear my firm intention that the [UK] Government should maintain the British Consulate-General Erbil on a permanent footing.”

The Secretary said that the New Iraq Strategy is aimed at broadening relationships between the UK, Iraq and the Kurdistan Region, and he concluded it with the statement: “I am confident that these are the right decisions. They will enable the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s Iraq Network to achieve the Government’s ambitious strategy for improving commercial ties with Iraq and supporting a stable, secure, democratic Iraq that is a positive and influential regional actor.”

To see a full copy of Secretary Hague’s statement and a comment by Minister Alistair Burt, please click here.