The Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Regional Government, H.E. Masrour Barzani, accompanied by a delegation including Dr. Dana Abdulkareem, Minister of Home and Reconstruction; Dr. Ano Jawhar Abdoka, Minister of Transport and Communications; Dr. Pshtiwan Sadiq, Minister of Religious Affairs; and Dr. Khalid Shwani, Minister of State, met His Holiness Pope Francis in the official residence of the Pope in Vatican City.
The Prime Minister Mr. Masrour Barzani discussed with His Holiness the Pope the critical role the Kurdistan Regional Government has played in protecting minorities in the Kurdistan Region, including Christians, from terrorism and persecution and updated Pope Francis on the latest developments in Iraq. The Prime Minister also discussed the clear legal and constitutional protections existing today in the Kurdistan Region to ensure the freedom of belief and religions for all citizens. The Prime Minister Barzani was delighted to take the opportunity to invite His Holiness to visit the Kurdistan Region the next time He travels to Iraq, while discussing the challenges faced by Christians, as well as other religious minorities such as Yezidis, across the wider Middle East region.
On his part, H. H. Pope Francis thanked the Prime Minister Masrour Barzani for the leading role the KRG has taken in supporting refugees fleeing conflict in Syria and Iraq, providing a haven of coexistence for all faiths, and for the leadership the KRG has taken in demonstrating a culture of tolerance and understanding towards all ethnic and religious groups.