Kurdistan Regional

Kurdistan Regional (738)

Prime Minister Barzani receives UNESCO Director General

Erbil, Kurdistan, Iraq, (krg.org) – KRG Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani received today Ms. Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO, her delegation, the Iraqi Ambassador to UNESCO, and Iraqi archeologists. 

In accordance with UNESCO’s selection criteria, the Erbil Citadel has been distinguished as a World Heritage site of outstanding universal value. One of only four sites in Iraq, the Citadel has been inscribed on the World Heritage List. A formal inauguration ceremony took place at the Citadel.

At the meeting with the Prime Minister the hard work of the people, institutions, and countries involved in the selection process, along with the roles of the UNESCO Director-General and Iraq’s Ambassador to UNESCO, were highlighted.

The Kurdistan Region has many other significant cultural heritage sites and attention was drawn to the need to monitor their condition, and to protect and preserve them in accordance with international standards. Necessary measures to be taken were discussed at the meeting.

Other topics discussed included the latest developments in confronting ISIS terrorist organisation's brutal aggression and protecting civilians, and the limits of humanitarian assistance available for over 1.4 million displaced people and refugees who have sought safety and security in the Kurdistan Region.

Iraqi Defense Minister visits the Kurdistan Region





Erbil, Kurdistan Region, Iraq, (krg.org) – Kurdistan Region Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani received yesterday the Defense Minister of the Government of Iraq, Dr. Khaled al-Obeidi.  He was accompanied by a delegation included the Chief of Staff of the Iraqi Army, the US Chief Security Coordinator in Iraq, the Governor of Mosul, Iraqi and US military officials, and advisors. The Kurdistan Regional Government Minister of Peshmerga Affairs also attended the meeting.

The importance of continuous and consistent cooperation between Peshmerga and Iraqi Army forces was acknowledged. Iraq’s Defense Minister commended the effectiveness of Peshmerga forces in confronting threats to the country’s security, highlighting achievement in recovering Zumar and Rabia towns from ISIS terrorists.

The Defense Minister affirmed the Peshmerga forces as important and integral part of Iraq's defense system. He indicated he would spare no effort to resolve the Peshmarga related outstanding issue with Baghdad. He expressed his wishes that the much expected visit of Kurdistan Region's delegation to Baghdad could pave the way in solving all the outstanding issues between Erbil and Baghdad.

The Defense Minister noted that enhancing the Iraqi Army’s capabilities is needed now  as it goes on the offensive.

Other topics discussed included the overall security situation, recent military developments, importance of tribal forces involvement in confronting terrorists, and the establishment of youth national force units from various parts of the country. To successfully confront terrorism, creating regional units from regional local tribes deemed necessary in this phase of the fight against terror, than can positively change the military equation on the ground.

The international community’s response in supporting national and regional efforts to confront, stop, and roll back ISIS terrorists was acknowledged, lauded, and discussed.  The effectiveness of airstrikes by the US and other coalition partners was highlighted as critically important to helping halt terrorist advances in many areas.

Prime Minster Barzani lauded the participation of Arab countries in the international coalition and acknowledged their participation as crucial. While considering coalition forces airstrikes successful, the Prime Minister emphasized that they are alone not enough, and that the fight against terror needs a change in strategy. He stressed the need for the ground forces to be well armed and well equipped.

Regarding relations between the Kurdistan Regional Government and the Government of Iraq, Prime Minister Barzani expressed optimism about the future. He emphasized the KRG’s positive interest and disposition in settling all outstanding issues between Erbil and Baghdad through respectful dialog and negotiation.





Prime Minister Barzani meets EU delegation

Erbil, Kurdistan Region, Iraq, (krg.org) - Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani on Monday received a European Union delegation headed by Mr. Hugues Mingarelli, the Managing Director for North Africa, Middle East, the Arabian Peninsula, Iran and Iraq at the European External Action Service, along with EU officials and the EU Ambassador to Iraq.

The delegation discussed the military, security and humanitarian situation in the Kurdistan Region and highlighted their aim to enhance cooperation and coordination between the Kurdistan Region and the European Union. Long-term energy cooperation was also discussed.

The delegation fully appreciates the Kurdistan Region faces very serious security challenges and is in the forefront of the fight against terrorism. The Region as host to displaced people and its role in providing humanitarian assistance were commended.  The EU delegation reiterated its support during this period of exceptional security and humanitarian need.

The EU delegation’s visit to Baghdad was also discussed noting that it urged the Iraqi Government to include all Iraqi communities in the political process, increase decentralization of political and economic authority to the regions and provinces in accordance with the Iraqi Constitution, and to resolve issues with the Kurdistan Region.

Prime Minister Barzani lauded the role of the EU in supporting the fight against terrorism and stressed requirements for more enhanced, heavy weaponry and training. Cooperation and coordination with Turkey in facilitating Iraqi Peshmerga to reinforce Kobani with heavy weapons was also discussed.

With the start of winter rains and decreasing temperatures the desperate plight of an overwhelming number of displaced people who have sought refuge in the Kurdistan Region was featured in the discussions.  Prime Minister Barzani affirmed, despite limited resources, the people and the KRG have welcomed and offered help and support to all who have been forced to leave their homes and will continue to do so.

It is noted that 20% of the more than 1.4 million displaced people in the Kurdistan Region are refugees from Syria for which more humanitarian assistance is urgently required from the international community. 80% are internally displaced persons, IDPs, from areas of Iraq outside the Kurdistan Region, including Arab Sunnis from Anbar Province adjacent to Baghdad, and Christians and Yezidis from neighboring Nineveh Province.

It is in the mutual interests of both the Kurdistan Region and the EU to develop closer relations, to improve relations with neighboring and regional countries, and to resolve outstanding issues between Erbil and Baghdad.

Speech by Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani at MERI Forum

Erbil, Kurdistan Region, Iraq, (krg.org) - The Kurdistan Regional Governmenet's Prime Minister, Nechirvan Barzani, told the forum, "The Middle East in Transition: The Need for Dialogue and Reconciliation”, which was held in Erbil from 4 to 6 November 2014, organised by the Middle East Research Institute, that Kurdistan Region's experience in democracy has played a vital role in Iraq as a stabilizing factor.

He stated that "in-depth examination of Kurdistan’s experience would offer lessons and insights to support the birth of a new order in the Middle East".

He said that if we look at the Middle East from Kurdistan’s experience, "we can say that planting the seeds of tolerance and finding solutions to political issues are not impossible. The main challenge is, how to determine mutual principles together, agree on them, and then abide and live by them?"

Following is the text of the speech:

Ladies and gentlemen,

I am delighted to participate in this forum.

It was late 1989 when the Berlin Wall fell. Two years later the Soviet Union dissolved, then the Cold War ended and countries became free. After 1991, talk began about the fourth wave of democracy. While politicians and scholars were talking about the emergence of a new world order, oppressed nations began lighting torches of freedom.

Many years passed and the Middle East did not witness any major change.  The fourth wave of democracy did not reach our part of the world. Many said the Middle East’s political culture was incompatible with democracy. In their evaluations and views they were disappointed and pessimistic.

Only a few were paying attention to a candle of democracy in a region without democracy. The candle at that time was Iraqi Kurdistan where in May 1992 it took an historic first step in the democratic process by electing the first free parliament.

During that same year the Kurdistan Parliament decided the future of the Kurdistan Region’s relation with Iraq was to be on the basis of federalism. There were very few people outside of Kurdistan’s political forces expecting our dream to come true. Our dream, however, has always been alive.

We do not say we did not have our shortcomings. We are certain, however, we are on the right path heading towards a bright future.The late nineteenth century Kurdish leader, Sheikh Ubaidullah of Nehri, was dreaming of the day when Kurds would govern themselves. The revolutions and uprisings of the previous century were all directed toward that end.

In 2003, Iraq witnessed a great change. Within two years Kurdistan’s leaders and other Iraqi leaders agreed in a new constitution to a democratic, pluralistic and federal country.  In a countrywide referendum, turnout was heavy and nearly 4 of 5 voters (80%) approved the constitution.

Since 2005 there have been three parliamentary elections in Kurdistan. Government formation and transition of power have been peaceful. We often forget the main demands of the Kurdistan’s uprisings and revolutions - democracy, human rights, and minority rights. As a form of government, federalism within Iraq was the main claim of Kurdistan’s people and their representatives. This historical background is important to understand the current transition in Middle East.

Within the past few years political systems in the Middle East region have been facing a serious crisis and a most uncertain future. Some regimes, including those of Saddam Hussein, Moammar Gadhafi, and Hosni Mubarak, are no longer in power. Some countries, such as Syria and Yemen are facing civil war and extremist ideologies.

We cannot ignore the threat we face in our fight against an extremely vicious force carrying the flag of the so-called Islamic State. For us, it is an existential threat.

We live in a region where efforts to establish democracy face many obstacles, where political extremism has become a preferred solution. The Kurdistan Region is currently fighting a well-motivated, energized, fully equipped vicious force. The rights of ethnic and religious minorities have been completely violated.

The people of Kurdistan cannot overcome this form of terrorism alone. We need military, humanitarian, economic, intelligence, and moral support from our friends abroad.

Compared with many countries in the Middle East, the Kurdistan Region has become a positive example of successful progress toward reconciliation and openness. Protecting this experience is the responsibility of everyone who supports democracy and freedom. This protection offers hope to many who care about democracy, tolerance, peaceful coexistence, and the rights of minorities.

If we look at the Middle East from the outside, especially from the media’s viewpoint, we see terror and massacre in many places. Meantime, one should not overlook or forget the fact that during the past decade the Kurdistan Region has played a vital role in Iraq as a stabilizing force.

In order to stabilize the security and political situation in the country, Kurdistan’s politicians have been facilitating Sunnis and Shias, during the heights of their conflict, to find mutual interest within their divisions. The homes and offices of Kurdistan’s leaders in Baghdad have always been open to bringing political parties together, especially President Talabani’s. He expended all his efforts in bringing opposing parties together.

Sometimes our foreign guests mentionKurdistanpeople's exceptional level of tolerance despite all the injustice inflicted on us throughout history in this country. They talk about the resilience of our people in the disputed territories who have been patiently waiting for the implementation of their constitutional right to return to the land of their roots. We will spare no effort to reach out to every community in our country when they are oppressed. Their protection is the same as the protection of the people and the land ofKurdistan.

If we look at the Middle East from Kurdistan’s experience, I believe we can honestly say that planting the seeds of tolerance and finding solutions to political issues are not impossible. The main challenge is, how to determine mutual principles together, agree on them, and then abide and live by them?

When we talk about a new political system in the Middle East, Kurdistan’s experience can be researched in its many aspects to see how to benefit from it at the regional level. In the region’s complicated geopolitics, the Kurdistan Region today has become a stabilizing factor. In its short democratic experience, the Kurdistan Region has proved to be a lesson in stability for all neighboring countries.

Opening Kurdistan to the outer world and encouraging local and foreign investment is effectively changing Kurdistan’s economy. The Region’s modern oil policy is helping to rapidly meet domestic electricity and fuel demands, and has added Kurdistan to the world’s energy map. These steps together offer hope to Iraqi Kurdistan and neighboring countries that peace and coexistence are not impossible in the Middle East.

Three months ago our democratic experience, peaceful coexistence, and stability faced a critical threat. The decision of our friends and pro-democracy supporters to come to our assistance is clear proof that our political, military, economic and social efforts of several years have not been in vain. I believe in-depth examination of Kurdistan’s experience would offer lessons and insights to support the birth of a new order in the Middle East

In 1991 people all across Iraqi Kurdistan rose up against the Saddam regime. Following its defeat in the Gulf War over Kuwait, the regime’s military forces attacked Iraqi Kurdistan. The coalition forces at that time established a no-fly zone to protect Kurdistan from the regime’s military aircraft.

Some of our friends said back then that the international community met its responsibility in protecting a nation that did not have the ability and force to protect itself. Some academics and politicians said, it is possible to say that the world’s new order after the Cold War has been built based on the rescue of the people of Iraqi Kurdistan.

Today, it is also possible to say the new political system in the Middle East is not only based on the rescue of Iraqi Kurdistan.  It is also based on our experience in coexistence, and on our efforts towards implementing democracy and pluralism. And it is also based on respecting neighboring countries along with finding peaceful solutions to our challenges.  It is all this that reduces our pessimistic view of the Middle East. It gives us hope that the Middle East can take big and small steps towards freedom and democracy.

I hope that Kurdistan’s experience can become a torch to light the way toward a new Middle East that respects all its people equally, acts with openness, helps each other confront terrorism, protects human and minority rights, revitalizes our countries, improves public services, and offers a political system that is compatible with life in this era.

With all due respect.





Iraqi President and KRG Prime Minister discuss latest developments

Erbil, Kurdistan Region, Iraq, (krg.org) — The President of the Federal Republic of Iraq, Dr. Fuad Masum, received on Thursday Kurdistan Region Prime Minister, Nechirvan Barzani, at his residence in Erbil.

They exchanged views regarding all the political and military issues of the country. The discussion particularly focused on the war against ISIS terrorist organisation in Iraq and the region and the importance of the international military and humanitarian support to Iraq. They also stressed the need for national reconciliation among all the parties, relying on the terms of the constitution and previous agreements.

The relations between Kurdistan Region and Iraq's federal government and the necessity of resolving the outstanding issues between Baghdad and Erbil according to the constitution, that could serve the interests of all the Iraqi people, were also discussed in the meeting.

President Barzani Hails Agreement by Syrian Kurds on Joint Leadership

Under the auspices of Kurdistan Region President Masoud Barzani, Syrian Kurds agreed today to jointly run the Kurdish areas in Syria, with joint leadership council and a unified military force.

Following this announcement in a meeting in the city of Duhok, President Barzani congratulated the people of Kurdistan and the people of Syrian Kurdistan in particular, on this historic achievement. The President reiterated Kurdistan Region’s continued support and backing to the Kurdish people in Syria.





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