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German defense minister visits Erbil as the country's Iraq mission set to expire
From Rudaw.net
10-01-2022 - ERBIL, Kurdistan Region - Germany's newly-appointed Minister of Defense in the government of Chancellor Olaf Scholz,  Christine Lambrecht is scheduled to be in Erbil on Sunday afternoon for talks with Kurdistan Region officials including the Region's President Nechirvan Barzani.
Lambrecht is expected to discuss the enduring fight against the Islamic State (ISIS), the state of internally displaced persons (IDPs) who have taken shelter across the Kurdish Region as well as several other bilateral topics concerning Erbil and Berlin.
Lambrchet's visit comes just a month after she took office.
Kurdish leaders have repeatedly expressed gratitude for Germany's military support in training the Peshmerga and assisting in major reforms of the Kurdish armed force.
In late October 2020 Germany’s parliament, decided to keep forces in Iraq as part of the Global Coalition and NATO’s training mission until January 2022. The parliament reviews its commitment to the military missions annually. In 2020, it approved extending the mandate for a year, but reduced its total number of troops across the Middle East from 800 to 700.
About 150 German soldiers and military advisors are stationed in the Kurdistan Region to train the Peshmerga forces. Germany is one of the few countries supplying the Kurdish troops directly through Erbil and not through the Iraqi central government in Baghdad.
Germany has made it clear on several occasions that it remains committed to supporting the Kurdistan Region. Kurdish leaders have hoped to improve on existing ties in all fields.
The country also considers the Kurdistan Region as being a safe haven for refugees and minorities.
"For this, we owe you our respect," Heiko Maas, Germany's former foreign minister said in a visit to Erbil in December 2018.
The Germans have been among the biggest contributors to military and humanitarian aid to Iraq and the Kurdistan Region since 2014. The central European nation is home to a large Kurdish diaspora and has taken in thousands of Yazidi survivors of the ISIS genocide.

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