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Kurdistan Consul General reports back

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Before returning to Kurdistan Huw Edwards, Britain’s Consul General in Erbil, briefed members of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq All-Party Parliamentary Group. The meeting covered a wide range of issues from visas to trade and the current political situation in Iraq.

Huw told the group that the position with regard to obtaining visas for visits to the UK is much improved. While they are still processed in Amman in Jordan, applications can now be submitted in Iraq at a visa application centre in Baghdad or a mobile unit in Erbil in Kurdistan. It is also hoped that direct flights to the UK will be able to start soon following a visit to Erbil by the Civil Aviation Authority. These changes will improve the developing trade links.

The Kurdistan Regional Government is continuing its capacity building programme of funding students to study overseas, and over 80% of students attend UK universities. Huw reported that an increasing number of UK universities have links to the region. Huddersfield University has now set up an Alumni group, and other universities are developing partnerships with academic institutions.

The political situation in Iraq continues to cause concern. While Kurdistan remains largely safe, the increasing violence in the rest of the country and in neighbouring Syria is a real worry. Issues of trust between the Kurdistan Regional Government and the Government in Baghdad continue in a number of areas including payment to the region of oil revenues.

Meg said:

"This was a very informative meeting. It is good to hear that the relationships between the UK and the Kurdistan are continuing to flourish in many areas despite the continuing difficult security and political situations in the region."  

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