Saturday, 19 March 2016 04:30

The  text of the  speech of Nechirvan Barzani, the Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Region in the opening ceremony of the International Tourism Conference in Erbil:

Ladies and gentlemen,
Dears Minister of Tourism of the Lebanese Republic and Minister of Culture of the Republic of Iraq,
Representatives of International, regional, and Iraqi tourism agencies and companies,

I welcome you all to this event; it’s our pleasure to host you today in the capital of the Kurdistan Region in an international conference of tourism. Participation of officials and representatives of 27 tourism companies across the world, especially at this particular time of The war against terrorism, and financial challenges, is not only a prestigious event for our tourism sector but also a show of solidarity and support and a repose for the Kurdistan Region.



I hope the presence of such a large number of international tourism companies in this conference will help us to revive tourism sector in Kurdistan Region in a way that it becomes another source of revenue for the region, a bridge with the world to open other doors, a tourist destination for international tourists visiting the Middle East.

With its natural beauty, breathtaking scenery, undiscovered mountains, ancient and historical sites, the Kurdistan Region has a great potential to become a major tourism destination in the wider region.

The welcoming attitude and warm hospitality of the people of Kurdistan Region is another important factor that could help develop tourism sector in our region. This welcoming attitude, which is one of the characteristics of the people of Kurdistan, gives a positive first impression to all foreign tourists at airports or border points upon their entry to our region. Hope to stay like that steadily.   

Dear guests,
The Kurdistan Regional Government has done its best to build tourism infrastructure, to secure the safety of tourists, and to attract international tourists to the Kurdistan Region. In order to further develop our tourism sector, the KRG has encouraged the private sector to invest in tourism projects and we will continue to do so. Since the establishment of the KRG Board of Investment in 2007, more than 6 billion USD have been invested in the tourism sector.

Despite of having the basic elements of a  tourism, it is unfortunate that due to our limited resources we have to give priority to the sectors that have direct impacts on the lives of our citizens. As a result, we have not been able to support tourism sector to the extent that we had planned. On the other hand, freezing of the KRG’s share of the federal budget ,the financial crises and war against terror challenges facing our region have had an adverse impact on all sectors including the tourism sector during the last two years. We are confident that once we overcome the current challenges, tourism sector will revive again and we will be able to further promote tourism in the Kurdistan Region.

When we look at the statistics between   2007 to 2016, we see great progress in our tourism sector. For instance, in 2007 we only had 105 hotels, while the number in 2016 has risen to 620 hotels. The number of restaurants for the same given years has increased from 129 to 764. Also during those years the number of tourists entering the Kurdistan Region increased from 377,000 to nearly three million. Most of the tourists come from the middle and south of Iraq, Iran and to a lesser extent from the regional and international countries.

The KRG has a comprehensive plan for the development of tourism sector. Our strategy is to focus on developing the sectors of agriculture, industry, and tourism to become the main source of our economy instead of oil and natural gas, with  the establishment of a solid infrastructure for those sectors , we would be able to reduce our dependency on the oil and gas sector.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Achieving a world-class tourism sector does not only require building five star hotels, restaurants and tourism projects but also a culture of tourism and exceptional services. In that regard, Kurdistan Region has a great potential as the people of the region enjoy tourism, which will make our job of promoting culture of tourism and attracting international tourists much easier, the social environment of Kurdistan Region for tourism and hosting foreign tourists is helpful and promising .

Even though, a much mature tourism culture is required ,the KRG and its relevant institutions should work seriously, in a scientific way, to further promote and consolidate culture of tourism in the Kurdistan Region. The local media can also play an active role in that regard. I hope that this subject will be discussed during the discussion of this conference to explore ways and means of advancing culture of tourism in our region.

I would like to seize this opportunity to encourage local and foreign investors to play an active role in reviving our tourism sector through investing in tourism projects. I urge them to take advantage of Kurdistan’s undiscovered mountains, plains, and rivers to build appropriate tourism project on this four season suitable land for tourism. The KRG is ready to fully support and facilitate the implementation of such kind of projects.

Tourism is an important sector for Kurdistan Region. I have instructed the KRG Ministry of Municipality, Board of Tourism and other relevant authorities to undertake necessary measures to further promote tourism so that it becomes a source of revenue for our region.

Dear guests,

Please allow me to salute the martyrs of Kurdistan who sacrificed their lives defending our land and freedom. I commend our brave peshmerga forces who are in the frontlines fighting the most brutal terrorist organization so that we can live in peace and continue building our nation. The resilience of our Peshmerga forces makes it possible for the people of Kurdistan Region to celebrate Newruz like every other year.

Once again I would like to welcome you all. I wish the conference success. I thank the Ministry of Municipality and Board of Tourism for organizing this important gathering. I wish the participants a productive conference and I hope their presence here today will pave the way for further collaboration in the future so that we will continue to work together to turn Kurdistan into a major tourist destination.

Thank you all





Thursday, 17 March 2016 08:00

Kurdistan Region President Masoud Barzani welcomed UK Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond in his office in Salahaddin today. They met to discuss the upcoming fight to retake the city of Mosul from ISIS terrorists, UK’s support to the KRG, and Erbil-Baghdad relations.

President Barzani thanked the UK Foreign Secretary for his visit, and described it as a further sign of UK’s commitment to support the KRG and its people. 

On the fight to retake Mosul, the President said that the peshmerga will play an important role in liberating Mosul, but stressed that before the Mosul operation, all sides must reach agreement on how to administer and run the city after liberation. He added that there is now joint coordination between the peshmerga forces, the Iraqi army, and the international coalition on preparation for the Mosul operation. 

Foreign Secretary Hammond admired the military successes of the peshmerga forces against ISIS, and said the UK would continue to train and supply the peshmerga forces. 

He added that the international community is prepared to help the KRG in meeting the economic challenges it faces, including support in undertaking economic reforms by the KRG. 

“I can assure you Mr. President that we will work with you and support you as you meet that challenge [economic crisis], just as we have done as you have risen to meet the challenge of fighting Daesh,” said Philip Hammond.

Wednesday, 29 July 2015 06:50

Erbil, Kurdistan Region, Iraq ( - Kurdistan Region Prime Minister, Nechirvan Barzani, yesterday received Ambassador Frank Baker, United Kingdom ambassador to Iraq and his accompanying delegation.

Ambassador Baker highlighted bilateral relations between Kurdistan Region and United Kingdom in all the fields, particularly the commercial and economic areas.

The two sides discussed the situation in Iraq in general and the fight against the Islamic State terrorist organisation, ISIS, in particular.
Ambassador Baker reiterated UK support for the Peshmerga Forces in the war against terrorism, praising their role and that of the people and government of Kurdistan Region in confronting and repulsing the terrorist threat.

He also pointed to the differences between Kurdistan Region and Iraqi Federal Government, as well as the Region’s internal issues, particularly the Kurdistan Region Presidency Law, stressing the need for solving those issues through dialog, common understanding, and consensus.

Ambassador Baker expressed his support and collaboration for the settlement of these issues.

Prime Minister Barzani thanked the UK delegation for the visit, expressing his hope that bilateral relations between Kurdistan Region and United Kingdom will witness further development in all the fields.

He highlighted the continuous victories marked by the Peshmerga Forces in the war against ISIS. Meantime, he called for further military aid for Peshmerga forces from European countries, particularly the United Kingdom.

Regarding the differences with the Iraqi Federal Government, Prime Minister Barzani reiterated that Kurdistan Regional Government aims to solve the issues through dialog and negotiations.

Regarding the issue of the Kurdistan Region Presidency Law, he reiterated that it should be settled on the basis of consensus and mutual understanding, and that all the political sides should reach an outcome that is in the general interests of the Kurdistan Region.

Wednesday, 01 July 2015 04:30

Mohammad Seddigh Ahmed (Jegarkhwein) the deputy-representative of Kurdistan Region of Iraq in Tehran, on the occasion of Fuad Masum’s first travel as the president of Iraq to Tehran, gave a note to Taadol Press as followed:

During recent years, Iran and Iraq as two important neighbor countries in the Middle East have had broadly progressing relations. Meanwhile this travel had more positive outcomes so that Masum’s travel can be considered according to this. The importance of mutual relations and political meetings, concerning the general view of regional crises and the increase of tension in the Middle East have turned out to be more than ever. During last year the emergence of new version radical-terrorist group, ISIS, has caused Iran, Iraq and Kurdistan Region’s relations entered a new stage and period which leads to collaborate and cooperate more broadly and effectively as compared to before. Indeed it must be insisted that since the new government has gained the authority and Maliki, whose mismanagement caused Iraq more critical and ISIS more powerful, has resigned, the balanced and cooperative approach with Iran has been clear more than ever.

Ultimately Ahmed, after having mentioned economic, security, culture and political issues, summed up his discussion in a way that the progress of relations between Tehran, Baghdad and Erbil can be deemed more positive and closer than before if all three sides support the current political trend in Iraq according to the correct understanding of facts and present conditions as well as insist on democratic standards and norms to solve and transit these critical and special situations on the basis of establishment of peace and security in the region and save of the regional nations from the threat of greatly and destructively tribal wars and unlimited violent and homelessness of millions people.



Wednesday, 24 June 2015 09:00

Kurdistan Region President Masoud Barzani met with US Ambassador to Iraq Stuart Jones in Salahaddin today. The meeting focused on a discussion of the latest political and security developments in the country and the fight against the ISIS terrorists. 

The US Ambassador reiterated the United States commitment to continue to support the peshmerga forces in the fight against terror.

They also discussed relations between Erbil and Baghdad and the situation of IDPs who have sought refuge in Kurdistan.





Tuesday, 16 December 2014 03:30

Erbil, Kurdistan Region, Iraq, ( – After easing almost a year of financial crisis and terrorism threat, the Kurdistan Region last week hosted the 10th Erbil International Fair attended by 250 companies from 16 countries.  In the wake of initial agreement between Erbil and Baghdad to resolve oil export and budgetary issues, and of security advances to halt the ISIS threat, market confidence begins to regain and business continues to progress.


Kurdistan Regional Government Minister of Trade and Industry, Samal Sardar, highlighted the importance of hosting the fair amid current circumstances. He said, “The participation of companies from foreign countries might not be at the level of previous years, but hosting the fair shows that business activities have not stopped and the Kurdistan Region’s security situation is very stable for business.” Minister Samal Sardar stressed that the Region’s economy continues to improve.


The breakthrough agreement between Erbil and Baghdad on resolving outstanding issues has helped to resume and revive business activities in the Region.


Mr. Abdulla Ahmed Abdul-Rahim, supervisor of Erbil International Exhibition told, “Hosting the fair amid the current situation, especially after the initial agreement between Erbil and Baghdad, shows that Kurdistan can preserve its economic position and successfully manage crises.” 


He added, “Erbil International Fair managed to build trust during the last ten years and the KRG has played a key role in developing the venue. The fairground has so far hosted more than 60 exhibitions on various sectors and has greatly benefited the people of Kurdistan.”


Representatives of private sector companies said the economic crisis and terrorist threats adversely affected their plans and caused suspension of some planed activities. However, the situation did not last long, as demonstrated by participation of international companies in various exhibitions.


Mr. Saman Brifkani, Supervisor of Magic Art Advertising Agency told, “Despite some concerns by some companies there have been various exhibitions by big brands and companies in the Kurdistan Region including Land Rover, Range Rover and BMW in which they showcased their latest products. In addition, various French, American and British franchises in Erbil’s markets and malls have recently launched.


“The breakthrough agreement between Erbil and Baghdad will strengthen trust and support increasing business activities”, he added.


On the sidelines at the fair the Czech Republic Consul General to Erbil, Jaroslav Reif, and a delegation from his country’s ministry of trade and industry discussed their activities in the Region.


The Czech Republic Consul General told, “Czech companies together with Czech banks implemented major projects in the Kurdistan Region especially in the electricity sector. We want to introduce the Kurdistan Region’s investment market to the Czech Republic and invite European investors to support investment activities in the Region.”


The Czech Republic is among the active investors in the Kurdistan Region’s investment market and has long reiterated its interest to invest in the Region.


Lebanon is among the countries that have not suspended their investment and business activities in the Kurdistan Region.
Mr. Jacques Jean Sarraf, Chairman of the Malia Group which owns various investments in the Region especially in the tourism sector told “The Lebanese private sector is keen on the Kurdistan Region and they did not suspend their activities in the Region.”


He added that his group is one of the main exporters to the Kurdistan Region and they are working on finding an alternative route for bringing their goods to the Region through air cargo as most of the Syrian and Lebanon border is under the control of the Islamic State terrorist organisation, known as ISIS.


Mr. Sarraf said, “Lebanon has played a significant role in developing the Region’s banking, construction and tourism sectors, and has contributed to the investment in the Kurdistan Region, including in basic and higher education.”


In another development, Britain Business Group Kurdistan was launched on 10 December, 2014 to further collaboration between British companies and companies based in the Kurdistan Region.


During the inaugural ceremony, Mr. Frank Baker, British Ambassador to Iraq, highlighted the Kurdistan Region as a stable and suitable environment for economic and trade activities. 


During the ceremony, KRG Spokesperson Minister Safeen Dizayee reaffirmed, “The KRG supports the free market and facilitates foreign investment in the Kurdistan Region.”






Sunday, 02 November 2014 03:30

Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,

Good evening and welcome to you all.

I am happy and pleased to participate here today with you in this event. We are witnessing another success in Kurdistan, as we are seeing another important and big step by Kurdistan towards the rest of the world which is the recognition of the historical Citadel of Erbil as a World Heritage Site, enabling it to formally become part of the archeological and cultural history of the world.

The recognition and inclusion of the Erbil Citadel on the World Heritage List is a source of pride and great honour for Erbil, Kurdistan, the people of Kurdistan, Iraq and even the larger Middle East. It is an important and worthy event.

The Citadel of Erbil is a place with a long history, over 6000 years old, putting its roots in the history books. Tens of leaders, rulers, emperors and world leaders have passed by the Citadel during different periods in history. The Citadel was used as a fortress to defend Erbil and its people and helped defeat the strongest and most dangerous armies. It always remained a proud symbol in the middle of Erbil.

In recent history, a significant number of personalities and famous figures from the Citadel have served Kurdistan in various fields. The lifestyle and the culture of the Citadel became an important part of the daily live of the people, society and culture in Erbil. The Citadel has frequently been mentioned in Kurdish literature and traditional songs.

It is the right of the people of Erbil and Kurdistan to be proud of this achievement of Erbil Citadel being listed in the World Heritage List, and that it has become the property of all humanity.

On this occasion on behalf of myself, the Kurdistan Regional Government and the people of Kurdistan, I would like to extend my heartfelt gratitude and appreciation to the UNESCO and the High Commission for Erbil Citadel Revitalization specially Mr. Dara Yaqobi who heads this Commission and his colleagues who worked tirelessly to ensure the recognition of the Erbil Citadel as a World Heritage Site. I would like to also thank the Iraqi Board of Archaeology, the Iraqi Permanent Mission to UNESCO and all the countries which helped the revitalization of Citadel, Erbil Governor, the relevant authorities and those countries which voted for the Citadel of Erbil to be on the list of World Heritage Sites.

Also, by the name of the people of Kurdistan and Erbil, I would also like to warmly welcome the Director General of UNESCO Irina Bokova who ispresent today at this ceremony and who helped greatly on this issue. We thank her and welcome her to Kurdistan and Iraq.

Distinguished guests,

While we mark today an important cultural milestone and celebrate this success, we cannot not mention the situation which our country and the region pass through. We are currently confronting a vicious and dark terror. In these circumstances Kurdistan has become the front line of the international coalition’s war against terror and the brave Peshmerga of Kurdistan are fighting on behalf of the world and humanity, defending the land and people of Kurdistan and the principles of the free world. They are sacrificing their lives every day and they are now also alongside their brothers and sisters supporting Kobane where they are fighting and defending themselves together.

During these circumstances, the first condition in order for us to succeed is to ensure the national unity of all the various Kurdish political parties as well as the people of Kurdistan. The support and assistance of our friends across the world and in the region has allowed the Peshmerga to bravely fight in the battlefields with the spirit of ‘Either Kurdistan or death.’ They are making progress on a daily basis and day by day they will continue to defeat the terrorists.

To achieve greater success and defeating the terrorists the Peshmerga needs heavy weaponry, training and more assistance from our friends and the international community. Here again, I would like to thank the international coalition and all our friends who have helped us militarily or through humanitarian assistance, but we are hoping that they provide us with further assistance.

Another issue that has made the current situation difficult is the decision early this year by theIraqi federal government to cut the budget of the Kurdistan Region as well as the salaries of the KRG employees. This is a failed policy, as they used the livelihoods of the people of Kurdistan as a pressure card against the Kurdistan Regional Government becauseof political disputes. Baghdad accused the Kurdistan Region of having sold oil independently, which is far from reality. The Kurdistan Region began to export oil only after Bagdad government cut our budget, which forced the Kurdistan Regional Government to start selling its oil. However the patience of the people of Kurdistan and their endurance regarding the lack of salaries being paid on time has proven the failure of this wrong policy.  This policy along with other failed policies by Baghdad resulted in huge political, security and economic disasters across Iraq.

I would like to extend my heartfelt gratitude to the citizens, employees and people of Kurdistan and reiterate my appreciation for their patience and understanding during this economic embargo. Thanks to the businessmen, companies and contractors, whom despite the lack of budget, continued their work in the process of the reconstruction of Kurdistan, and who did not stop their operations.

Here I would like to tell the people of Kurdistan, after long efforts, the Kurdistan Regional Government is close to solving the financial crisis and in the near future, this issue will be resolved. I would like again to ensure the employees of the Kurdistan Regional Government that none of their salaries will be lost and that they will receive their complete salaries.

Distinguished guests,

We in the Kurdistan Region have preserved our national unity and formed our broad-based government, and decided jointly to participate together in the new Iraqi federal government. We reiterate that the Kurdistan Region is willing and ready to solve all the outstanding issues with Baghdad through dialogue based on a proper understanding of the reality of the disputes.

We see our participation in the new federal Iraqi government as a chance to come together to solve the outstanding issues and where we can reach a solution which is in the benefit of all Iraq and all of us. An Iraq that can learn from the previous mistakes and act in a way to save the country from the disaster that it is currently passing through.

Again I would like to welcome you all and a heartfelt congratulations to the people of Kurdistan and Erbil. Its Citadel will be a part of the culture of humanity and property of the world. I am confident that a bright future, more success and progress are ahead of us.

I would like to wish you all a pleasant evening. Thank you very much.

Wednesday, 08 October 2014 03:30

Iran- KFP info Special- the representative of Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) of Iraq in Iran said: as the Kurdistan region delegates under the chairmanship of Nechirvan Barzani, the P.M of KRG, meeting Iranian authority, Pishmergas entrance to Kurdistan areas out of Kurdistan Region was praised.


Nazem Dabbagh the representative of KRG of Iraq in Tehran in talk with KDP .info stated: Kurdistan Region delegations traveled to Tehran and exchanged ideas with the authorities of Islamic Republic of Iran about the changes of current situations. Both sides believed that the terrorists had to have been stood with.


He also said: in this visit Islamic Republic of Iran deemed the Pishmergas entrance to Kurdistan areas located out of the region positive. He added: Iran had no consideration about Pishmergas entrance to the areas out of the region but considered it as collaboration, since if the Pishmergas had not entered those areas it could have been taken up by the ISIS forces.


At the end the representative of KRG of Iraq in Tehran stated: the delegates of Kurdistan region left Tehran for Erbil after visiting Iranian authorities.







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