The visits will begin with a tour of France, sources in the Iraqi Kurdistan Region’s administration told Izvestia on Tuesday.
The delegation, expected to include KRG Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani, Minister of Foreign Relations Falah Mustafa Bakir, and possibly KRG President Masoud Barzani, will focus on seeking recognition for the outcome of the recent independence referendum in the region.
The Kurdish delegation also plans to visit Russia by the year-end, Iraqi Kurdistan’s representatives in Moscow told the paper.
Meanwhile, Russian diplomatic sources said Moscow was ready to receive the delegation and discuss the prospects for cooperation, but the region should not expect Russia’s support for its independence.
Spokesman for the Iraqi Kurdistan mission in Russia, Danar Mustafa, said the Kurds have great respect for Moscow and its position on the September 25 referendum.
In September, Russia became the top investor in energy-rich Iraqi Kurdistan. Russia’s energy companies, namely Rosneft, Gazprom Neft, Lukoil and Zarubezhneft, have been actively working in the exploration and extraction of oil and gas in Iraq. This June, Rosneft and the KRG signed a deal on cooperation in the gas sector.
Iraq’s Kurds rushed headlong into a vote for independence on September 25, although neighbors and countries in the Middle East, including Iran and Turkey, voiced opposition to the vote and supported the Baghdad central government.
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