On 17 August, a special transport plane from the airbase of Powidz carrying eight tonnes of Polish humanitarian aid landed in Erbil, northern Iraq. The relief is addressed to Iraqi victims of religious persecution and ethnic cleansing, including Christians and Yezidis, who have found refuge in Iraqi Kurdistan.
The assistance was organized in response to dramatic appeals which the Kurdistan Regional Government and church authorities, among others, had made to the international community.
The delivery includes food, tents, blankets, camp beds, sleeping bags, and first aid kits made available by Caritas and the Ministry of the Interior. The transport was co-organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of National Defence, and the Government Centre for Security.
The Polish Consular Agency in Erbil is responsible for handing over the aid to humanitarian organizations.
The Polish delegation was headed by Ambassador Stanisław Smoleń, an MFA envoy. In Erbil, he was received by Nechirvan Barzani, Prime Minister of Iraqi Kurdistan, and took part in political consultations with Falah Mustafa Bakir, Head of the Department of Foreign Relations (foreign minister) in the Kurdistan Regional Government.
The talks focused on the current political situation in Iraq in the context of a new prime minister taking office, the participation of Peshmerga soldiers in fights against Islamic State militants, the EU’s role after the decisions taken at the Foreign Affairs Council on 16 August, and the prospects for the development of bilateral relations. The hosts said they appreciated Poland’s support and solidarity.