Saturday, 23 June 2012, 07:39 GMT
Departing German ambassador notes remarkable progress in Kurdistan

Ambassador Berger also met with the Head of the Department of Foreign Relations,

President Masoud Barzani on Monday in Salahaddin welcomed the outgoing German Ambassador Christian Berger, who came to bid farewell to the Kurdistan Region as he concludes his term in Iraq.

President Barzani thanked the Ambassador for the important contributions of the German people and government toward the ongoing development of Kurdistan, and Germany's significant role in the reconstruction process. They discussed strengthening bilateral ties in the areas of culture, trade and technology.

Mr Berger said that he witnessed remarkable progress in Kurdistan over the past ten years and hoped that the prevailing stability and security here would be seen in all the cities in Iraq. President Barzani wished the ambassador success in his next assignment.

Ambassador Berger also met with the Head of the Department of Foreign Relations, Minister Falah Mustafa. He thanked Minister Mustafa and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) for their important role during his two-year posting in Iraq. He said "I am impressed by the economic and educational progress taking place in Kurdistan. I'm pleased to see the vast progress that is taking place in the German School in the Region."

Minister Mustafa said that he was pleased to see the significant progress in relations between Germany and Kurdistan, and commended the growing number of German institutions being established here. The two sides touched on the relations between the Kurdistan Region and its neighbours, particularly given the crisis in Syria.

The German government was among the first to establish a Consulate General in the Region and since its opening three years ago, it has hosted annual receptions to celebrate the Day of Germany Unity. In 2008, Germany signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the KRG on German language teaching and cultural exchange in selected secondary schools. Ten partner schools were selected for the programme. German companies are also among the most active European firms in the Region.

The German Consul General in Erbil Mr Rolf Ulrich accompanied the ambassador, who also met the Minister of Higher Education Dr Ali Saeed and visited Erbil's ancient Citadel.