Kurdistan's chambers of commerce held the first Romanian-Kurdish economic forum in Erbil this week, hosting many Romanian and Kurdish companies.
The Romanian businesses were part of a trade delegation that, accompanied by Romania's Ambassador to Iraq Jacob Prada, is visiting all three governorates of the Kurdistan Region this week.
Dara Jalil Khayat, the Chairman of the Federation of Kurdistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry, welcomed Ambassador Prada and the delegation and wished them an enjoyable and productive trip, saying he hoped this would be the first of many more visits by both sides.
Mr Khayat highlighted the active role that many Romanian businesses already have in Kurdistan but emphasised that there are many more opportunities for engagement. "We at the Chamber of Commerce and Industry are eager to work closely with our counterparts at the Romanian Embassy in Baghdad and those at the Consular Office here in Erbil in order to help support and facilitate your efforts," he said.
Ambassador Prada thanked the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) for its efforts not only in helping to organise the forum and visit, but also in helping to make it easy for Romanian companies and businessmen to work in Kurdistan.
He said, "The good relationship between Romania and Iraq, and Romania and the Kurdistan Region, has been there for a long time. What the Romanian government has been able to do today with the assistance of the KRG is to enable Romanian and Kurdish businessmen to enjoy increased cooperation,"
He also spoke of several agreements that have been prepared between Duhok, Suleimaniah, Erbil and three governorates in Romania, saying that these would likewise provide exciting opportunities for cooperation.
The Head of the KRG Department of Foreign Relations, Minister Falah Mustafa, said, "I am very pleased to see so many Romanian businesses and institutions represented here. We continually encourage our friends in the international community to come and see the opportunities that exist here for themselves, and I trust that your acceptance of this invitation has led to a positive and productive experience for you during this visit. I sincerely hope that the connections you are making here will lead to mutually beneficial partnerships that will last long into the future."
Minister Mustafa pointed out the importance of these kinds of visits for helping to build bridges with the international community, and he thanked Ambassador Prada and the Head of the Romanian Consular Office, Mr Eugen Sihleanu for their efforts to promote stronger relations both in the Kurdistan Region and in all of Iraq.
A number of other KRG representatives and local officials attended and participated in the forum including the Deputy Governor of Erbil, Tahir Abdullah. Ambassador Prada also attended a private meeting with Minister Bakir at the beginning of his visit to the Region on Saturday.