President of the Kurdistan Region meets with Pope Francis and the Vatican’s Secretary of State

On April 13, 2023, His Excellency Mr. Nechirvan Barzani, President of the Kurdistan Region, Iraq, had a meeting with the Vatican Secretary of State, His Grace Cardinal Pietro Parolin. 

Throughout the meeting, the two sides spoke about the current situation in Iraq, and especially the Kurdistan Region, regarding Christian minorities; moreover, the efforts made by the region to keep the Christian presence in Kurdistan were emphasized. 

H. G. Cardinal Parolin expressed the Vatican State’s appreciation of the efforts made and the State’s continuous support of the Kurdistan Region. His Grace also commended the opening of the Catholic University in Erbil and Kurdistan’s ample support for this project. Additionally, His Grace added that Erbil has become a place for optimism due to it being a place for peaceful coexistence. His Excellency Mr. Nechirvan Barzani expressed the Region’s desire to keep Christians present in Kurdistan and its readiness to help those who want to return. His excellency also requested the Vatican’s support, as to encourage the EU Union to implement supportive projects in the region especially in Christian areas.  

Moreover, His excellency Mr. Nechirvan Barzani also met with His Holiness Pope Francis at the Vatican’s Apostolic Palace. Throughout the meeting, the two sides spoke about the Pope’s visit to Kurdistan. His excellency Mr. Nechirvan Barzani presented to the Pope, a Kurdish painting illustrating coexistence between the diverse ethnic components in the region.