Kurdistan Regional

Kurdistan Regional (738)

Prime Minister Barzani visits West of Tigris and Zummar frontlines

Erbil, Kurdistan Region, Iraq, (KRG.org) - Kurdistan Region Prime Minister, Nechirvan Barzani, yesterday visited the Peshmerga forces, fighting against the Islamic State terrorist organization, known as ISIS, on the West side of River Tigris in Sihailah and Zummar frontline.

In a meeting with the military commanders and officers of the two sectors of the front, Prime Minister Barzani was briefed and updated on the latest military developments on the front, the continuous advances of Peshmerga forces and their recent victories in repelling ISIS terrorists. He also followed up the Peshmerga forces’ needs and logistics in the battlefront.

The meeting was followed by a visit by Prime Minister Barzani to the town of Zummar, where he visited the local branch offices of both the Kurdistan Democratic Party and Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, the only two Kurdish political parties who returned to their offices in Zummar after the liberation of the town from ISIS terrorists, earlier last month.


The Prime Minister met both parties’ officials and discussed the situation in the area, the ways to ensure the return of the displaced people to the town and the provision of basic services, particularly electricity power. The Prime Minister stressed that he will urge the relevant authorities to resolve these issues, as soon as possible, to ensure the return of all public services to the area.

Prime Minister Barzani also visited the main office of Nineveh Oil Board and the Northern Oil Company in Ain Zala, meeting the directors and supervisors of both the board and the company.

They discussed the situation in the area, the nature of the work, and the importance of protecting such infrastructure following its liberation from ISIS terrorists.


Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani visits Sinjar Mountain

Erbil, Kurdistan Region, Iraq, (gov.krd) - Kurdistan Region Prime Minister, Nechirvan Barzani, yesterday visited the recently liberated town of Sinoun and Sheikh Sharaffadin Shrine on Sinjar Mountain.

Meeting members of the Kurdish Yezidi community in the area and commanders of the battlefront, fighting against the Islamic State terrorist organisation, known as ISIS, Prime Minister Barzani was briefed on the latest developments and the situation in the recently liberated areas, the process of the return of the displaced families to their homes and the provision of basic public services in the town. Prime Minister Barzani stressed that Kurdistan Regional Government will dispatch special teams to the area in order to assess its basic needs.

Prime Minister Barzani hailed the role of the commanders and the Yezidi Peshmerga forces for their resilience and confronting ISIS from the beginning of the attacks by this terrorist organisation.

Visiting Sheikh Sharaffadin Shrine, Prime Minister Barzani told the press, “The aim of our visit to the Shrine of Sheikh Sharaffadin and meeting these brave fighters who have been resisting for months, is first to express the KRG’s gratitude for their resilience and sacrifice in defending Sinjar Mountain; and secondly, to send a message to our beloved Yizidi sisters and brothers, that the KRG respects your community and understands your deep distress. However, thanks to God and due to the resilience and the hard work of these brave fighters this entire area has been liberated from ISIS terrorists.”

The Prime Minster pointed out that together with local administrative officials they have discussed the necessary steps to be taken in order to reconstruct and reintroduce basic public services. He said, “We hope to make all the necessary services available after the complete liberation of the town of Sinjar that would allow the return of life to the region and the displaced people to their homes.”

Regarding compensations for the region, the Prime Minister said, “The KRG committees will visit the area and we will do our best in compensating the people of the region and helping them to return to their homes.”

Regarding possible international recognition of the atrocities committed by ISIS against Yezidi Kurds in Sinjar as genocide, Prime Minister Barzani said, “For this purpose, we have formed a commission, where two KRG ministers are among the members as well as eye witnesses. We believe that what happened to the Yezidis is genocide, and the government will spare no effort in helping that the crimes committed against the Yezidi Kurds be internationally recognised as genocide.”

Regarding the advance of the Peshmerga forces towards Sinjar, Prime Minister Barzani said, “Liberating Sinjar town was not in the plan of the recent operation, started later last month. It targeted only the liberation of Sinjar Mountain, Sinoun town and the surrounding areas. Now, Peshmerga forces look at Sinjar as their next step. When the military commanders deem the time has come, the operation of complete liberation of Sinjar will be launched.”

He also reassured the Yezidi community that the KRG “continues to exert great efforts to free the Yezidi women and young girls, abducted by ISIS terrorists. However, the plans cannot be disclosed to the media.”

Sheikh Ismaiel, Yezidi religious dignitary in Sheikh Sharaffadin Shrine, considered Prime Minister Barzani’s visit to the shrine as visiting the homes of the entire Yezidi community.

He said that since the main route to the mountain has been freed, humanitarian relief starts to reach the displaced Yezidis.

He said, “Our main request will be to free the abducted Yezidi women from the hands of ISIS terrorists. We would also like to create a province for Sinjar, attached to the Kurdistan Region, and linking Sinjar’s electricity grid to Kurdistan Region, which is currently dependent on Mosul.”

Qasim Shesho, one of the Yezidi commanders who stayed in the mountain and fought against the ISIS terrorists, considered President Massoud Barzani and Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani’s visit to the region as historical.

He said, “We want to tell those who were saying that Peshmerga forces did not assume their duty in Sinjar when ISIS attacked, that it is with the Peshmarga sacrifices and blood that the route to the mountain has been freed.”

Responding to the statements reportedly calling to create an independent Region for Sinjar, Qasim Shesho said these statements are against the will and desire of the people of the town. We are and will remain part of Kurdistan, but we ask the Prime Minister to create a province for Sinjar.”

Prime Minister Barzani also met the military commanders and officers who stayed on the mountain from the early days of ISIS attacks and protected the mountain, the displaced Yezidi Kurds and the Shrine. He was briefed on the latest military developments and the Peshmerga forces military operations.

Minister Bakir and Representative Abdul Rahman call on State Department and Congress

Washington DC, USA (www.dfr.gov.krd) - Falah Mustafa Bakir, Head of the Department of Foreign Relations, called on Brett McGurk of the State Department and several senators and congressmen to introduce the new Kurdistan Regional Government Representative to the United States, Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman.

The Minister is in Washington as Ms Abdul Rahman assumes her post as Representative to update Administration officials, congressmen and the media on the peshmerga's advances against ISIS (the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham)‎ and the need for heavy weapons and humanitarian aid.

The Minister ‎and Representative met Mr McGurk, who is Deputy Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern Affairs at the State Department, on Tuesday. They thanked him for his support for Kurdistan and Iraq and for the warm welcome with which he received them.

Minister Bakir said, 'We thank the United States for stepping in to assist Kurdistan in 1991, for liberating Iraq in 2003 and then for proving to be our friends again in 2014 when your air strikes boosted the morale of our people and peshmerga against ISIS.'

Ms Abdul Rahman said she looked forward to working with Mr McGurk at this critical time in the US-Kurdistan relationship when they are fighting ISIS terrorists together.

Mr McGurk agreed that the United States and Kurdistan were in a strategic partnership that benefited both sides. He and the KRG delegation discussed the military needs of the peshmerga, who are spearheading the fight against ISIS, and the humanitarian crisis in Kurdistan and Iraq. Both sides welcomed the atmosphere of cooperation between Erbil and Baghdad.

Yesterday, the KRG delegation met senior members of congress, including Senator Bob Corker who chairs the Senate Foreign ‎Relations Committee and represents Tennessee which hosts the largest Kurdish community in the United States. They discussed the situation in Kurdistan, Iraq and Syria, what further assistance the United States could provide to the peshmerga, and the protection of Iraq's minorities who have found a safe haven in  Kurdistan.

Similar discussions were held with Congressman Devin Nunes, chairman of the Intelligence Committee, Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez, Senator Tim Kaine, who sits on various committees, and Congressman Rodney Frelinghuysen who heads the defence sub-committee of the Appropriations Committee.

Minister Bakir and Ms Abdul Rahman also held discussions with Congressman Gerry Connolly and separately Congressman Dana Rohrabacher who are longtime friends of Kurdistan.





DFR statement on the Attack in Paris

The KRG Department of Foreign Relations strongly condemns the horrific shootings on the Charlie Hebdo Magazine office in Paris that claimed 12 lives. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims of this terrorist attack. We stand with the people of France and offer them the sympathy of the people of Kurdistan at this difficult time.

Such attacks can only strengthen our commitment to vigorously uphold and defend the values of freedom of speech and to continue the fight against terrorism. These kinds of attacks remind us of that members of the international community should stand shoulder to shoulder in the fight against terrorists who threaten the values of democracy, tolerance, and peaceful coexistence. The Kurdistan Peshmerga Forces are at the forefront of the fight against terrorism. The fight against extremism must continue relentlessly.

Once again, we express our condolences to the families of those killed in Paris.

President Barzani Strongly Condemns Terrorist Attack on Charlie Hebdo

In a message addressed to French President Francois Hollande, Kurdistan Region President Masoud Barzani strongly condemned the terrorist attack on the Charlie Hebdo magazine in Paris today.

“On behalf of myself and the people of Kurdistan, I would like to express my condolences to you, the French people, and the families of the victims of today’s terrorist attack, and I strongly condemn this inhumane and cowardly act,” said the President.

“In this sad day, the people of Kurdistan, who are currently fighting the most barbaric kind of terrorism, stand with the people of France. I am confident that terrorism will be defeated and humanity will prevail.”

New KRG Representative begins her mission in the United States

Washington DC, USA (dfr.gov.krd) - Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman yesterday began her mission as the Representative to the United States of America. 
Minister Falah Mustafa Bakir, Head of the Department of Foreign Relations, met with Ms Abdul Rahman and the staff of the Kurdistan Regional Government Representation in Washington DC to officially declare her as the new representative and to discuss the team's plan for 2015.
‎The Minister and Ms Abdul Rahman also met Lukman Faily, Iraq's Ambassador in Washington, and held a meeting with the KRG's advisors and consultants.
At the meeting with the Representation staff, Minister ‎Bakir congratulated Ms Abdul Rahman on her new post and reiterated the significance of Kurdistan's relations with the United States. He said, 'This representation is a critical post and our relationship with America is important for many reasons. We will continue to strengthen our long-term, strategic partnership with the United States in all areas and fields.'
‎The Minister thanked the Representation team for its work in maintaining good ties with the US Administration, Congress, the think tank and business communities, as well as the Kurdistani diaspora. He highlighted the role of Qubad Talabani, who was KRG Representative to the United States before taking the post of Deputy Prime Minister.
Ms Abdul Rahman echoed the Minister's sentiments and said, 'It is an honour to be appointed to this post. The job is made easier by knowing there is a good team already in place. I look forward to working together to bring the people of Kurdistan and America closer to each other.'
‎At the Iraqi Embassy, Ambassador Faily welcomed Minister Bakir and Ms Abdul Rahman where he expressed his willingness to work and cooperate with the Representative. The Ambassador, Minister and Representative discussed the cooperation between Erbil and Baghdad on issues such as the peshmerga, the budget and oil exports. They also discussed relations with the United States. 
The United States has provided critical military and humanitarian assistance to Iraq and Kurdistan. The peshmerga forces, backed by air strikes by the US and its coalition partners, have retaken much of the territory lost to ISIL terrorists in the summer. The Kurdistan Region received 950,000 displaced Yezidis, Christians and other fellow Iraqis in 2014 alone, in addition to the 1million people who have fled Syria and the violence in other parts of Iraq since 2003.
Minister Bakir and Representative Abdul Rahman will meet US Administration officials, members of Congress and the media this week. 
Ms Abdul Rahman assumed the role of Representative to the United States as of January 1, after 10 years as the KRG High Representative to the UK. Previously she had worked as a journalist for 17 years at several British newspapers, including the Financial Times.

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