LODZ — The Iraqi government has refused to permit Belgian Defence Minister Steven Vandeput to visit the troops from his country stationed in Erbil, another move by the Baghdad government to isolate the Kurds.
Kurdistan Region representative to the EU, Delavar Azhgayi, said that the Iraqi government’s denial has caused angered the Belgians and the issue is brought to the media attention now.
Vandeput was scheduled to visit Baghdad and then fly to Erbil, the capital of Kurdistan Region, where he intended meeting with Belgian troops training the Kurdish Peshmerga forces as part of the US-led Global Coalition battling the Islamic State (IS).
The minister however canceled the whole trip, saying, “Then we will not go to Iraq at all, although we also have a few instructors in Baghdad”.
“Belgium will respond to this diplomatically,” he was quoted by Belgian media as saying.
According to Azhgayi, Belgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has summoned the Iraqi Ambassador to the country to provide clarification on the issue.
The Iraqi government previously also prevented German foreign minister from visiting Erbil during a tour to Iraq.