The UK’s newly-elected foreign secretary Liz Truss received Kurdistan Region President Nechirvan Barzani on Thursday, discussing the improvement of bilateral ties, according to a tweet from Barzani.
“I met with the new UK foreign secretary @trussliz for her first meeting as Britain’s top diplomat & congratulated her on her new position,” tweeted President Barzani.
“We discussed ways to further improve our strong bilateral ties, UK’s support to KR, regional stability, along with other pressing issues,” he added.
Barzani arrived in London for a three-day official trip on Wednesday. He met with the UK’s Secretary of Defense Ben Wallace and a number of military officials as well as some members of parliament on the first day of his visit. He met with John McFall, Speaker of House of Lords on Thursday.
Truss was appointed as the UK’s new foreign secretary by Prime Minister Boris Johnson as part of his cabinet reshuffle on Wednesday. Her meeting with Barzani was her first meeting with a foreign leader as the new foreign secretary.
Truss, 46, is a graduate of economics at Oxford University and has completed a number of post-Brexit deals with countries.
“Strengthening trade ties and economic cooperation is at the heart of the UK’s Integrated Review, and these are areas the new Foreign Secretary has worked on closely whilst SoS [Secretary of State] for International Trade and as Chief Secretary to the Treasury. President Nechirvan’s timely visit to London remains a great opportunity to discuss these matters in more detail,” the British Consulate in Erbil told Shkoi Kurdistan English on Wednesday.
The UK has been an important ally of the Kurdistan Region for decades. Thirty years ago the United Nations Security Council declared a no-fly zone in the north of Iraq, providing a safe haven from the Baath regime that allowed Kurds to gain some autonomy. Sir John Major, then-Prime Minister of Britain, played a key role in securing the no-fly zone. An Erbil street was named after him in April.