Iraqi Kurdistan delegation visits Finland

nsnbc : A delegation from the Interior Ministry of the Kurdistan Autonomous Region of Iraq is in Finland on official invitation to exchange idea and discuss continued coordination between the Kurdistan Regional Government and Finland as well as the upcoming referendum on the Kurdistan region’s independence from Iraq. 

Pavi Laine_Finland ambassador to Iraq_Aug 2017_2_JPG

Pavi Laine, Finland’s “roving ambassador” to Iraq based in Helsinki.

Before meeting with the Finnish Foreign Ministry, Brig. Yadgar Anwar, head of Erbil Residency Department and among the delegation, told the Kurdish Rudaw news agency, “We have come here to maintain our continued assistance with the Finnish government.”

He said there was good understanding between Finland and the Kurdistan Region and they have exchanged ideas on a variety of issues many times in the past. Among the Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) delegation were officials from the police, residency, and citizenship departments.

The delegation is headed by Abdulkhaliq Talaat, general manager of Erbil Police. One issue on the table is preserving the security of the Kurdistan Autonomous Region before and after the independence referendum vote.

Anwar said the Finnish government was closely watching the referendum process. The Kurdish delegation is also hoping to take advantage of Finnish expertise in a variety of fields, including IT and technology.

Members of the delegation also met with the Finnish immigration ministry. Anwar said Helsinki thanked the Kurdish government’s facilitation for their citizens and other Europeans when entering Iraq and the Region. “Our doors are open for European citizens to come to Kurdistan, those whose documents are perfect, having no legal issues,” said Anwar.

The Kurds were also able to meet with representatives of the International Organization for Migration (IOM). “The IOM has good relations in Erbil with the Interior Ministry. When they knew we were here they wanted to see us. And I, as head of Erbil’s citizenship department, talked about the subject of those people living here having no documents with them because the Finnish government asks for their documents. So we discussed how we could be coordinating with them in this and helping them,” the head of the Erbil citizenship department told the Rudaw news agency.

Pavi Laine_Finland ambassador to Iraq_Aug 2017Finland does not have an embassy in Baghdad. Roving Ambassador Paivi Laine is based in Helsinki and visits Iraq regularly. Ambassador Laine told Rudaw she was happy to see the Kurdish delegation in Helsinki as they have many issues to discuss. She said Finland, as a small nation, understands Kurdistan’s independence referendum but advises to wait for a more appropriate moment, after the stabilization of Iraq. The problems between Erbil and Baghdad should also be resolved in accordance with the Iraqi constitution, she said.

The Kurdistan Regional Government will hold a referendum on the independence of the Kurdistan Autonomous Region on September 25. It is worth noting that Finland declared its independence from Russia 100 years ago. Finland’s declaration of independence from Russia was adopted on December 6, 1917, ending its “autonomy” within Russia as the “Arch Duchy of Finland”.

In November 1917 the Bolshevik government in Moscow accepted Finland’s right to full self-determination including the right to secession. However, Russia and Finland have since been involved in two extremely bloody wars, nearly resulting in Finland being “re-absorbed by an expansionist Soviet Union.

CH/L – nsnbc 31.08.2017

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