Pope Francis meets Kurdish Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani at the Apostolic Palace on March 2, 2015 in the Vatican. File Photo: KRG
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Pope Francis thanked the people and government of the Kurdistan Region for hosting Christian refugees and expressed his hope for co-existence, peace and harmony to continue in the Kurdistan Region.
Kurdish Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani and Pope Francis met
at the Holy See on Friday.
“In a bilateral meeting, the Holy Father thanked the visit and expressed happiness for once again meeting with Nechirvan Barzani. He thanked the government and people of the Kurdistan Region for hosting refugees in general, in particular Christians who were displaced to the Kurdistan Region due to the fight against ISIS and other subsequent events,” read a statement from the KRG following Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani’s meeting with the pontiff.
According to the statement, the Pope said he hoped co-existence and harmony will continue in the Kurdistan Region and that problems in the Region can be resolved through understanding, peace and dialogue.
The Pope said he would pray for the KRG to succeed.
PM Barzani, in addition to expressing his happiness in meeting with the Pope, touched upon recent events, the political and economic situation of the Kurdistan Region, and the Erbil-Baghdad row.
As per the statement, Barzani said he hoped the Pope could play a role to resolve the Erbil-Baghdad deadlock.
And he asserted the KRG’s commitment to helping those in need, despite its own recent hardships. Its doors are open to receiving refugees, he said, and his government has worked to help displaced Christians return to their homes. He also said the KRG has tried to make Christian communities feel they can remain in the country.
Barzani said the KRG would continue to work to preserve co-existence and harmony with all peoples of the Region.
Barzani last met with the Pope in the Vatican in March 2015.
In a separate meeting with Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican’s prime minister, Barzani also touched upon the Region’s political and economic situations and the latest developments in relations with Baghdad, including efforts underway for the start of dialogue.
Parolin said he hoped the two governments could mend their strained ties through dialogue.