Today the Holy Father , Pope Francis held a private audience with the President of the Kurdistan Region , H.E. Masoud Barzani.
Before the private audience with President Barzani, the Holy Father gave a warm welcome to all delegation composed of the Chief of Staff of the President, Dr. Fuad Hussein, the Head of the Department of Foreign Relations of Kurdistan Regional Government, Min Falah Mustafa, the Director General for Christian Affairs of the Ministry of Religious Affairs of Kurdistan Regional Government, dr. Khalid Alber and the High Representative of the Kurdistan Regional Government in Italy , Mrs. Rezan Kader.
Pope Francis, who constantly follows with keen attention to the evolution of the situation of the Kurdish people, recalled the tragedies that this nation has suffered. He also commended President Barzani and the people of Kurdistan for what they have achieved, in particular in providing a safe haven for refugees and Syrian Christians fleeing persecution in the rest of Iraq and throughout the Middle East area.
The Pope also praised President Barzani of the Kurdistan Regional Government’s policy of promoting tolerance and peaceful coexistence among different religious communities.
Pope Francis has finally wished President Barzani peace and prosperity for the entire region of Kurdistan and the Kurdish people.
For his part, President Barzani stressed that tolerance and mutual respect are values of long-standing tradition among Kurdish people. As evidence of this, people of different cultures and faiths live side by side in the Kurdistan Region peacefully having shared sufferings and sacrifices in the past.With regard to the situation of Christians refugees and Syrians who have found refuge in the Region, President Barzani stressed that the government will continue to provide all necessary assistance to them as a humanitarian duty.
The visit ended with a polite exchange of gifts.
Afterwards, the President and the entire delegation were welcomed by Mons. Mamberti, Secretary for Relations with States of the Secretariat of State of the Vatican, who thanked President Barzani for the example of tolerance and religious coexistence and for humanitarian assistance for Christians refugees and Syrians in the territory of Kurdistan.