After meeting Pope Francis at the Vatican last week, Kurdish Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani made an official visit to meet with Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi. Renzi was among the first European heads of state to visit Kurdistan after the ISIS offensive began in August 2014.
Rudaw also reports that Italy has promised to provide arms, ammunition and advanced weaponry to the Kurdistan Regional Government in its ongoing fight against the Islamic State. The pledged weaponry includes Kurdistan’s first military helicopter, which will reportedly be used for logistical and medical support on the frontlines. Italy, a member of the US-led coalition against ISIS, has also decided to send another 300 military trainers to Kurdistan.
Speaking to reporters at a joint press conference in Rome on Tuesday with the Italian foreign minister, Barzani called for continued international military support against the ISIS militants. “The Peshmerga are in the frontline, but I’m confident with the assistance from the international community we will be able to annihilate these terrorists,” Barzani said.
“We have discussed our aid to the Kurdistan region which will be both humanitarian and military,” Italy’s Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni said at the joint conference. “All the different religious groups in Kurdistan, Christians, Yazidis, Shabaks and others, need our assistance, which is why we need to support the Kurdistan region,” he added.[Read more at Rudaw]