Pietro Grasso, president of the Italian senate. AFP file photo.
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Pietro Grasso, president of the Italian senate, arrived in Erbil on Tuesday, on a mission to open Italy’s consulate in the Kurdistan Region.
He was welcomed at Erbil airport by Kurdish Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani, who sources said would accompany the Italian official in inaugurating the mission later Tuesday.
Italy has been one of the active supporters of Kurdistan in the war against the Islamic State (ISIS), ever since the militants attacked Erbil in August last year.
It has set up military training camps in the Kurdish region, where Peshmerga fighters are trained in the use of advanced weapons.
Italy underscored its commitment to the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), when Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi visited Baghdad and Erbil shortly after the war began – among the first world leaders to do so after ISIS took control of wide parts of Iraq.
Italy’s support also came in the form of arms and other aid to the Kurdish fighters.
According to the Erbil governorate’s official website, at least 31 regional and foreign countries have representative offices and consulates in Erbil.