In an official ceremony on Thursday, 14 June 2012, the Head of the Kurdistan Regional Government-Iraq (KRG) Department of Foreign Relations, Minister Falah Mustafa, along with the Ambassador of the Embassy of the Republic of Iraq in Austria, H.E. Dr. Surood Najib, and the Head of the Middle East Section at the Austrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Dr. Friedrich Stift, opened the 13th KRG representation office worldwide in Austria at the 14th of June 2012.
During his speech, Minister Mustafa congratulated Dr. Ramazan, the KRG Representative to Austria, on his assignment to his post. “For our part, this new KRG Representation with its Head, Dr. Mustafa Ramazan, will provide a direct point of contact for businesses, the government, institutions and individuals from each of our respective sides, and we will use every resource at our disposal to further develop and support the relationships that this connection makes possible.”
In the opening ceremony, Representative Dr. Ramazan highlighted the significance of the inauguration of the representation office, “We open this office in accordance with the Constitution of the Republic of Iraq. It is within this framework that the KRG Representation in Austria will work vigorously to further deepen the existing relations between the Kurdistan Region of Iraq and Austria.”
During the event, both Minister Mustafa and Dr. Ramazan recalled the historical relationship between the peoples of the Kurdistan Region and Austria. “The government of the Republic of Austria was responsible for transporting and receiving the first 100 Kurdish refugees from refugee camps in Iran during the 1976 crisis. They ensured that these 100 individuals received the equal opportunities afforded to all Austrian citizens, including housing and education.
Today, many of these people are prominent members of the Austrian and Kurdish societies. Ministers, speakers of parliament, ambassadors, MPs and other prominent officials, including our KRG Representative here, Dr. Mustafa Ramazan, have emerged from this group thanks to the opportunities that were given to them by the government and people of Austria. The Kurdish people are, and will remain, tremendously grateful for this and for other significant assistance that was provided to us at a number of critical moments in our history during the 1970s, 80s and 90s.”
Minister Mustafa, accompanied by Dr. Ramazan and Ambassador Najib, also visited the office of the Austrian Foreign Ministry, where Vice Chancellor and Foreign Minister of the Republic of Austria, Dr. Michael Spindelegger announced that the Republic of Austria would open an official trade office in Erbil by the beginning of next year. Minister Spindelegger stated that the office would also issue visas for Iraqis to further consolidate relations between the two countries.
The ceremony was attended by government officials ambassadors, diplomats, as well as members of the business, academic, and arts & sciences communities in Austria.