ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The autonomous Kurdistan Region will remain as a center for brotherhood and peaceful coexistence between different ethnic and religious groups, a senior Kurdish leader affirmed on Sunday.
The Chancellor of the Kurdistan Region Security Council (KRSC), Masrour Barzani, on Sunday received a delegation of Armenian bishops from across the world.
They discussed the current situation of displaced Christians in the Kurdistan Region and Nineveh Plains, stressing the need to provide better living conditions to accommodate their return home, according to the KRSC press office.
Barzani called on Christians to remain strong and stay in their homeland to prevent any efforts aimed at diminishing their identity and alter the demographics of their ancestral land. He emphasized the support of the Kurdistan Region for the rights and demands of Christians in the Kurdistan Region in general and Armenians in particular.
Barzani, who is also elected by his leading Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) to head the new Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) cabinet as a Prime Minister, stated that the Kurdistan Region takes to heart its established culture of coexistence and tolerance, deeply rooted in the region throughout history.
“Kurdistan will always remain a center of brotherhood and peaceful coexistence between all the ethnic and religious groups,” Barzani said, according to the KRSC press office.
The delegates commended the autonomous region for being a safe haven for Iraqi Christians in the past.
The meeting came one day after the opening of the first Armenian Orthodox church in Erbil.
The Kurdistan Region is home to over 120,000 Christians, distributed throughout the different provinces, with the majority living in Erbil and Duhok. Following the emergence of the Islamic State in Iraq in 2014, most were displaced to areas administered by the KRG, while others fled abroad.
The autonomous region has a unicameral parliamentary legislature with 111 seats, with five quota seats each reserved for Turkmen and Christian parties and one seat specifically set aside for a member of an Armenian party.
Editing by Nadia Riva