Kurdistan Regional

Kurdistan Regional (639)

Prime Minister Barzani: Future relations between Erbil and Baghdad require a new mechanism

Erbil, Kurdistan (KRG.org) – Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani yesterday received the United Kingdom’s new Consul General to the Kurdistan Region, Mr. Angus McKee. They discussed the relationship between the United Kingdom and the KRG as well as current political issues.

The Prime Minister congratulated the Consul General and wished him success in his new position. Consul General McKee expressed his pleasure in taking up his post in Kurdistan.

United Kingdom – Kurdistan Region relations

The Consul General discussed the relationship between the Kurdistan Region and the United Kingdom, explaining that Prime Minister Barzani’s visit to London and British Foreign Secretary William Hague’s visit to Erbil will help solidify strong, mutually beneficial ties, including between the two governments and among private companies, universities, and citizens.

Mr. McKee indicated that the Prime Minister’s visit to London would serve as a catalyst to foster stronger relations, expressing hope that both sides remain dedicated to the development of the relationship. He assured the Prime Minister that the United Kingdom is committed to the agreements made during that visit.

Prime Minister Barzani highlighted the Kurdistan Region’s strategic relationship with the United Kingdom, also pointing to the importance of the exchange of high-level visits. He reaffirmed that the KRG attaches special consideration to its ties with the United Kingdom and remains committed to developing and bolstering relations.

Political issues

The new Consul General applauded the broad-based character of the KRG’s eighth cabinet, evidence that the Kurdistan Region is heading in the right direction.

During the meeting both sides pointed to the latest developments in Iraq, including the political process. Prime Minister Barzani emphasised that everything has changed in the last several weeks, and in light of these developments, relations between Erbil and Baghdad must be viewed in a different manner. He explained that the KRG supports the political process in Iraq, which needs to progress so that a framework for coexistence and a mechanism to define future relations between Erbil and Baghdad can be established.

The Prime Minister added that the threat of terrorism presents a grave danger to all sides. He stated that Iraq is today witnessing the beginning of a new phase and that the nature of the issues at stake has changed. This must be taken into account when considering the current situation.

Both sides discussed the situation of the internally displaced people who have fled Mosul and other parts of Iraq to seek safe haven in Kurdistan. The Consul General reaffirmed that his country has in the past provided assistance to refugees and internally displaced and would continue to cooperate in order to help the displaced people through logistical assistance and through the transfer of expertise and experience in coping with the crisis.





Prime Minister Barzani: KRG priority is the protection of the Kurdistan Region

Erbil, Kurdistan (KRG.org) – KRG Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani yesterday received the United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Iraq, Mr. Nickolay Mladenov, and explained that his government’s first priority is the protection of the Kurdistan Region.

The Prime Minister’s meeting with the UN representative

In the meeting, discussion centered on the latest security and military developments in the governorates of Ninewa, Tikrit, and Diyala, as well as the situation of the displaced people from these governorates, particularly Ninewa. Over the last few days hundreds of thousands have fled and entered the Kurdistan Region’s Erbil and Duhok governorates.

The UN envoy lauded the KRG, which he said has from the very beginning provided shelter, aid, and assistance to the displaced. He also thanked the relevant KRG institutions for their assistance and cooperation with UN agencies in providing this aid.

Prime Minister Barzani reiterated that while the KRG would continue to assist the displaced people to the greatest extent possible, his government needs international support. He urged UN agencies to play their role in providing aid to the displaced and deal with their plight diligently.

The Prime Minister condemned the terrorist acts, pointing out that the current issues facing Iraq cannot be settled through the use of force or armed confrontation. He emphasized that political settlement should be reached. He clarified to the UN special representative that the KRG had tried to help the Iraqi government prior to the events in Mosul, warning Baghdad about the threat, but the Iraqi government and the Iraqi Prime Minister rejected the Kurdistan Region’s suggestion. The Iraqi government claimed that it did not need any help and that the situation was under control.

The joint press briefing

In a joint press conference following the meeting, the Prime Minister explained that Iraq is currently facing significant danger. He said that the only way to overcome this is the establishment of appropriate cooperation between the KRG and the Iraqi federal government in order to confront this danger together.

On the political front, he added that it is essential that all of the various components of Iraqi society, Sunni and Shia Arabs and Kurds, form a council that represents them all. Hence it is essential to hold the first session of the next parliament as soon as possible in order to ensure the continuation of the political process.

He also explained that in order to cooperate and coordinate with Baghdad, the KRG had been in contact before the latest development and remains in continuous talks with the office of the Iraqi Prime Minister as well as with the other parties, which is normal and necessary.

He added that the Peshmerga forces had assisted the Iraqi soldiers who fled. He said, "We assisted them within our means, helping them safely return to their cities, such as Baghdad and other areas in Iraq."

Regarding the Turkish consulate in Mosul and those detained by the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), Prime Minister Barzani said, “We condemn everything that has happened in Mosul, including what took place against the Turkish consulate as well as what happened in the city of Mosul in general. Despite having no contact with ISIS, we are prepared to do what we can, within our capabilities, to free the hostages of the Turkish consulate.” He added, “I would also like to reassure companies operating in the Kurdistan Region that the area is safe and that they can resume their work.”

In response to the last question, the Prime Minister pointed out that when Kirkuk was threatened, the office of Prime Minister Nouri Maliki officially asked the KRG to take over the headquarters of the 12th Division of the Iraqi Army in order to ensure that no security problems arise.





Prime Minister Barzani: I ask the people of Kurdistan to support the people of Mosul

Erbil, Kurdistan (KRG.org) – Following the developments in the city of Mosul due to the Iraqi Security Force’s inability to maintain security in the city, KRG Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani has issued the following statement.

“Unfortunately, due to the failure of the Iraqi Security Forces to protect the people and the city of Mosul, the militant group referred to as the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) controls the city of Mosul. This has caused widespread fear. The people of Mosul fear for their lives because of attacks and the lack of food and services, and they are leaving their city.

“Over the last two days we tried extremely hard to establish cooperation with the Iraqi Security Forces in order to protect the city of Mosul. Tragically, Baghdad adopted a position which has prevented the establishment of this cooperation.

“In order to assist and support the displaced people of the city of Mosul, including all of the city's different ethnic groups – Kurds, Arabs, Turkmen, Chaldeans and Assyrians – I ask the people of the Kurdistan Region to help the displaced people of Mosul in whatever way they can within the framework of legal and security guidelines. I also urge the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) to provide relief and support for the displaced people fleeing the violence in Mosul.

“In the meantime, we reassure the people living in the areas of Kurdistan outside KRG administration that Kurdish Security Forces and Peshmerga are ready, as always, to handle the security situation in these areas.”

– Nechirvan Barzani

Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Region

10 June 2014





Prime Minister Barzani to ensure translation of Ismail Beşikçi’s works into Kurdish

Erbil, Kurdistan (KRG.org) – Last week Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani warmly welcomed the renowned Turkish writer Ismail Beşikçi to Erbil, pledging to ensure the translation of all of his works into Kurdish and to oversee the opening of a branch of the Ismail Beşikçi Foundation.

During his visit Mr Beşikçi received an honorary doctorate from Salahaddin University, and a study hall at the University of Sulaimani was named in his honour. Mr Beşikçi has spent decades writing about the Kurdish people in defense of their rights.

Prime Minister Barzani lauded the achievements of the former Nobel Peace Prize candidate, affectionately known as ‘friend of the Kurds’. The Prime Minister explained that the Ismail Beşikçi Foundation branch in Erbil will serve as an important cultural centre and will help to educate future generations about his work and the importance of coexistence and tolerance.

In his meeting with the Prime Minister, Mr. Beşikçi discussed his first encounters with the Kurdish people, dating back more than 50 years. He discussed the positive developments in relations between the Kurdistan Region and Turkey, also praising the tolerance shown to different ethnic and religious groups in the Kurdistan Region and the value of the Region’s culture of peaceful coexistence.

Mr Beşikçi discussed his travel in the Kurdistan Region with Prime Minister Barzani. He visited Amedi, Barzan, Akre, Choman, and Haji Omran, and expressed his pleasure regarding the opportunity to visit the location of the September Revolution in Balakayeti prior to arriving in Erbil. Mr Beşikçi applauded the developments in the Kurdistan Region, emphasizing the importance of efforts by the government and citizens to protect the environment and wildlife in the mountainous areas of the Region.





Prime Minister Barzani addresses Kurdistan Parliament’s Oil & Gas and Legal Committees

Erbil, Kurdistan (KRG.org) – Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani yesterday conducted a lengthy meeting with the Kurdistan Parliament regarding natural resources policy and budgetary matters.

Kurdistan Parliament Speaker Dr. Yousif Mohammed, heads of the parliament’s political blocs, the Oil & Gas Committee, and the Legal Affairs Committee all participated in the session. The Prime Minister, Minister of Natural Resources Dr. Ashti Hawrami, and KRG Council of Ministers Legal Advisor Dr. Amanj Raheem answered questions from Members of Parliament and discussed oil export and the road forward.

An excerpt of the Prime Minister’s address is below, as well as his response to two questions from Members of Parliament.

Prime Minister’s address

“The issue of energy is highly important to us. It has no relations to party politics, nor is it a personal matter. It is related to the Kurdistan Region in general and in reality it is quite a sensitive issue and it is essential that the Parliament, in its role as the legislative institution, be fully informed on the details of this issue. Our policy has been created within the framework of the laws that have been established by the Kurdistan Parliament and hence the parliament should be privy to all the details related to this issue.

“The big question is: ‘who will control the oil’? Counterparts in Baghdad did not identify ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ KRG actions – they just wanted to control the issue completely. We do not view this issue as a path towards Kurdistan’s independence, but rather as the expression of our constitutional rights. These rights are the constitutional principles upon which we agreed when we returned to Iraq in 2003 and 2004, and they have to be implemented in Iraq.

“If Baghdad today agreed with us upon the issue of oil revenue sharing, one of Iraq’s most important laws, it would lead to the resolution of a number of obstacles related to this issue. However if I speak frankly, Iraq’s federal government increases the sovereign expenditures year after year without the Kurdistan Region’s knowledge, and this is reduced from Kurdistan’s share of the Iraqi budget.

“At a time when Baghdad regularly increases its sovereign expenditure, the burden placed upon the KRG increases and citizens’ expectations of the government, in terms of services, are considerable. This is the right of citizens, and they are fully entitled to these demands. In addition, we have a large number of civil servants on the government payroll in Kurdistan. For your information, 850 billion Iraqi dinars per month are spent on the salaries of civil servants. This is a very large figure and it needs to be addressed. It cannot continue in this way.

“In order to reach international standards…we need more than $US 31 billion to meet the demands for infrastructure in Kurdistan such as highways and roads, bridges, schools, hospitals and other essential needs.

“We are determined to carry out our constitutional rights and to ensure that we receive from Baghdad the full 17% of the Kurdistan Region’s share of the budget.

“In last week’s session we provided solid clarifications. And today we have come here because without doubt esteemed Members of the Kurdistan Parliament, as members of the legislative institution in Kurdistan, have many questions that they would like to see answered. The aims of Members of Parliament are to determine whether the KRG’s oil policy will be successful or not, as well as to understand the government’s future plans. This includes the manner in which the KRG plans on spending the revenue we receive.

“We want to address these questions openly and transparently in Parliament today so that we can reach a mutual consensus regarding the energy issue in Kurdistan. And just as Speaker of Parliament Dr. Yousif explained, we want energy to be a national issue and to resolve doubts about its transparency. We are ready to answer these questions in front of the Kurdistan Parliament, as it is our legislative institution, and so we are ready to attend any time to be questioned and to be held accountable.

“We fully believe that the achievements of the KRG are in the best interest of the Kurdistan Region, and are in accordance with the Iraqi Constitution. We are confident. But the task is not easy; in fact, is it quite difficult.

“The main requirement for the success of this process is a united stance among all of Kurdistan’s political parties on this issue.”

Responses to questions from Members of Parliament

In response to questions from Members of Parliament regarding the position of the United States, Prime Minister Barzani stated that the policy of the United States is and has been to support both Baghdad and Erbil in efforts to reach an agreement, as has been reiterated by American diplomats on every occasion. The KRG wished that, when considering the oil issue, the United States had pointed to Baghdad’s unilateral and unconstitutional decision to cut the Kurdistan Region’s share of the budget. The KRG resorted to exporting oil following Baghdad’s decision to cut the budget of the Region, an act that has affected the payment of salaries of civil servants. The KRG has been forced to pursue a solution because of this action.

In response to questions regarding the agreement between the Kurdistan Region and Turkey, the Prime Minister stated, “We should not view this issue as political. We have held meetings with our Turkish counterparts over a lengthy period of time, and it culminated in a protocol for long-term cooperation on energy issues and is subject to extension. The agreement was a result of a long series of meetings. We do not consider this to be a political move to divide Iraq. That is not the case.”





Prime Minister Barzani reiterates KRG commitment to Iraq’s international obligations

Erbil, Kurdistan (KRG.org) - In a meeting held yesterday with the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Iraq, Nickolay Mladenov, KRG Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani reiterated that the Kurdistan Region is committed to all international obligations related to Iraq. This includes Iraq's commitment to compensate countries through oil revenues, as per relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions.

The latest developments in relations between Erbil and Baghdad, energy issues, efforts to finalize the KRG's eighth cabinet, and the Iraq government formation process were topics of discussion in the meeting. The Prime Minister emphasized that the KRG oil policy is fully in line with the federal constitution of Iraq.

The UN Special Representative stressed the need for genuine effort to form a new Iraqi government as soon as possible through dialogue and agreement among the country's various political parties. He also offered his congratulations to the people of the Kurdistan Region for the agreement that has led to the formation of the KRG's eighth cabinet.





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