Italian defense minister, Iraqi Kurds hold talks

President of the Kurdistan Region Nechirvan Barzani, right, receives Italian Minister of Defence Lorenzo Guerini in Erbil, Dec. 17, 2019. (Twitter Photo)
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Updated 30 September 2020

Italian defense minister, Iraqi Kurds hold talks

  • Italian Defense Minister Lorenzo Guerini: The Italian presence in Iraq is not in question, and will continue as long as it is welcomed by the Iraqi people
  • Lorenzo Guerini: I hope that the NATO mission in Iraq will be reinforced, in full harmony with the needs of Iraqi institutions

ROME: Italian Defense Minister Lorenzo Guerini and Iraqi-Kurdish officials discussed in Erbil on Wednesday the international coalition’s efforts to eliminate Daesh.

“Italy sees as a priority the fight against terrorism, and considers as essential the presence of the coalition forces in Iraq,” said Guerini.

“I hope that the NATO mission in Iraq will be reinforced, in full harmony with the needs of Iraqi institutions,” he added.

“The Italian presence in Iraq is not in question, and will continue as long as it is welcomed by the Iraqi people.”

Guerini discussed with Nechirvan Barzani, president of Iraqi Kurdistan, the security situation in Iraq. They affirmed the importance of cooperation until Daesh is eliminated.

Barzani said Iraqi Kurdistan is concerned about security developments in Iraq and armed factions’ threats against diplomatic missions.

He added that the efforts of diplomatic missions and the international coalition in Iraq are important and necessary, and that their goal is to help and support the country.

Italy has about 1,400 military advisors in Iraq, including 800 in the Kurdish region who have trained more than 15,000 Kurdish fighters over the past five years.

Barzani thanked Guerini for Italy’s continued assistance to Kurdish forces and its role in the international coalition against Daesh.

In a separate meeting with Masrour Barzani, Iraqi Kurdistan’s prime minister, Guerini announced the resumption of Italian training of Kurdish forces, which had been interrupted due to the coronavirus pandemic.

An Italian Defense Ministry source told Arab News that the Iraqi-Kurdish prime minister reiterated the “importance of Italian and US-led coalition forces’ presence in both the Kurdistan region and Iraq.”

The source said the prime minister also stressed the Kurdish region’s commitment to supporting Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi’s efforts to stabilize the country.

Guerini said the anti-Daesh coalition “must continue to carry out its tasks … with renewed determination,” and “Italy is ready to support the development of the security forces … also on a bilateral level. The key target is to prevent the resurgence of terrorist actions.”

He added: “We believe in the region’s high strategic value and in the role that Italy plays in the stability of this area.”


Erdogan’s son-in-law leaves sovereign wealth fund

Updated 27 November 2020

Erdogan’s son-in-law leaves sovereign wealth fund

  • The 42-year-old quit as finance minister in a cryptic November 8 message on Instagram
  • His resignation was ignored by state media until it was formally accepted by Erdogan the next night

ANKARA: President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s son-in-law quit as the deputy head of Turkey’s huge sovereign wealth fund, completing a fall from grace that began with his surprise resignation as finance minister.
Berat Albayrak had been viewed as Turkey’s second most powerful figure until his chaotic departure from the government at the start of the month.
Married to the Turkish leader’s elder daughter, the 42-year-old quit as finance minister in a cryptic November 8 message on Instagram that cited health reasons.
His resignation from the helm of the Turkish economy was ignored by state media for more than 24 hours, until it was formally accepted by Erdogan the next night.
Albayrak’s two-year tenure as economy chief saw the lira lose 40 percent of its value against the dollar and the central bank burn though most of its reserves in trying to defend the currency.
His departure was linked to Erdogan’s appointment of a new market-friendly central banker whom Albayrak had strongly opposed.
Naci Agbal, the new central bank governor, sharply raised the main interest rate at his first policy meeting last week, helping the lira halt its slide.
Yet Albayrak still held on to his post as deputy head of the sovereign wealth fund, which was created in 2016 and now manages state assets officially valued at $22.6 billion.
Erdogan’s office said little about Albayrak’s departure, noting in a one-sentence statement that he “left the board of the sovereign wealth fund of Turkey after asking to take leave.”
He was appointed as its deputy head in 2018, the same year Erdogan became its official chief.