WASHINGTON, May 20 (UPI) -- Representatives of the Kurdish government in Iraq welcomed a measure passed by U.S. lawmakers to establish a U.S. consulate in the Kurdish capital.
The U.S. House of Representatives approved Resolution 873, which calls for a U.S. consulate in Erbil, the seat of the Kurdistan Regional Government in Iraq.
Washington currently maintains its embassy in Baghdad, some 200 miles south of the semiautonomous Kurdish capital. There are 17 other countries that have diplomatic representation in the Kurdish region of Iraq.
Qubad Talibani, the KRG representative to the United States, praised the approval of the resolution as a symbol of diplomatic camaraderie.
"The establishment of a consulate in the Kurdistan Region will broaden and deepen our already strong relationship with America," he said.
Resolution 873 states that the "establishment of a United States Consulate in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq will reaffirm United States support for the stability, prosperity, and democracy that the Kurdistan Region of Iraq has achieved."
Washington this year amended its travel advisory to Iraq to downgrade warnings for the northern Kurdish provinces in Iraq.