Salahadin, Kurdistan Region of Iraq (Barzani Headquarters)- President Masoud Barzani received a high-level delegation from the Vatican City State headed by Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Cardinal Secretary of State. President Barzani began the meeting by wishing upon the delegation and all Christians a Merry Christmas. Cardinal Parolin, who was present in Iraq for this year's Christmas conveyed the greetings of His Holiness Pope Francis to President Barzani.
Cardinal Parolin and President Barzani discussed the situation of Iraq's Christians in general and the former expressed his gratitude to the people and government of the Kurdistan Region for their way of handling the crisis that started with the 2014 terrorist attacks which resulted in the displacement of large numbers of people including many Christians from the Nineveh plains.
President Barzani made reference to the importance of co-existence in the Kurdistan Region and how that principle is part of the culture of the Kurdish society and not necessarily enforced through any legal mechanisms, adding that historically people of different components have lived peacefully together as brothers and sisters in Kurdistan. The President also stated that it is of extreme significance for Kurdistan to remain a place of peaceful co-existence between religious and ethnic components which collectively make up the current mosaic.