Federal Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier arrived in Erbil this morning (18 February), on the second day of his Iraq visit, accompanied by Iraqi Foreign Minister Zebari.
In the capital of this province in northern Iraq of the same name, the Federal Foreign Minister was welcomed by Massoud Barzani, President of the Kurdistan region in Iraq, and Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani.
The occasion for the visit to Erbil is the official opening of the German Consulate-General by Foreign Minister Steinmeier. By transforming the branch office of the Embassy in Baghdad that was established in April 2008 into a regular Consulate-General, Germany is expanding its consular presence in the country and taking a further step towards intensifying relations with Iraq. Consul-General Oliver Schnakenberg will head the mission.
As in Baghdad, talks in Erbil will focus on German support for reconstruction in Iraq, especially in the areas of infrastructure and basic and further training. The Federal Foreign Minister is being accompanied on his trip by representatives of German companies and cultural institutions.
In Erbil Federal Minister Steinmeier will visit a partner school offering German courses and will open a leadership academy, which is to provide further training for Iraqi administrative officers and judges.