Preservation of the integrity and sovereignty of Iraq is clearly in the interest of Hungary, and we are ready to take action for it, Minister of State for Security Policy and Economic Cooperation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade István Mikola said at his press conference in Budapest.

Reporting on his last week visit to Iraq, István Mikola emphasised: they also want to focus on economic aspects when building relationships. In the Northern part of Iraq, in the Kurdistan region, Mol has established major footholds, and the Hungarian Consulate General – opened in Erbil last Wednesday – could also assist the professional work of the company, he said.

DownloadPhoto: Zsolt Burger

The Minister of State said that first they negotiated with the Iraqi Prime Minister and four ministers in Baghdad. Baghdad is a strictly controlled city; the threat posed by the Islamic State (ISIS) is clearly present in daily life. His negotiating partners in Baghdad particularly appreciated the visit of the Hungarian delegation in this situation, he added.

Next they consulted with the leaders of Kurdistan, and István Mikola opened the Consulate General in Erbil. The new foreign representation is “practically financed by Mol”, it is not expensive for the ministry, but it is important for establishing economic relationships since there are enormous oil reserves in the region that are not completely exploited yet, he explained.

DownloadPhoto: Zsolt Burger

The Minister of State also noted that for the time being the Kurds are able to hold their positions against the forces of the Islamic State (ISIS); moreover, they could even fight back extremist Sunni militants. Hungary backs Kurdistan in this war; we had recently supplied them with ammunition, for which the Kurds were very grateful and requested further assistance, he said.

István Mikola said that both Iraq and Kurdistan agreed that it costs a lot of money to win this war, to protect the border and stop the Islamic State (ISIS), and they want to finance it from their only major revenue: oil. As concerns the future of Kurdistan, each party emphasised that currently the aim is to preserve the integrity of the country. He was of the opinion that no one knows exactly when this war comes to an end, but most probably we can expect a long-running conflict.

(Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade)