Croatian FM meets deputy PM of Iraqi Kurdistan, visits Ankawa camp

On the second day of her visit to Erbil on Tuesday, Croatia's Foreign and European Affairs Minister, Vesna Pusic, met with the Deputy Prime Minister of Iraqi Kurdistan, Qubad Talabani.

She also visited the Ankawa refugee camp, which provides shelter to Christians, and the Church of St Elias and St Joseph, and met with Bishop Bashar Warda, according to a press release issued by the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs.

Pusic said after the meeting with Talabani that she appreciated Iraq's fight against the global threat of terrorism. "We appreciate the Iraqi fight against DAESH, especially the role of the Peshmerga, who are fighting not just for Kurdistan and Iraq but also for a wider neighbourhood which is Europe. They are fighting to defeat terrorism," she said.

"It is our will and our obligation to cooperate with you by providing you support through defence cooperation and through humanitarian cooperation," Pusic said.

Bishop Warda spoke of the situation with Christian refugees. "We have lost 6,000 families, who have left for Jordan, Syria and elsewhere and are very unlikely to return to Iraq. It's a great loss for such a small minority community," he was quoted as saying.

The bishop noted that the Christians did not experience such a terrible fate as the Yazidis. "The dignity of these people is our priority, so it was important to help and ensure that they can take care of themselves. That's why we are renting apartments so that families can move out of the camps as soon as possible," he added.

Warda said that the entire Christian community of 125,000 from Mosul had arrived in Kurdistan.

Pusic and Warda also discussed primary healthcare and education, given a large number of children among the refugees.

(Hina) vm