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Monday, 24 February 2014 10:30

 

 

 

Brussels, Belgium (krg.org) – Minister Falah Mustafa, the Head of the Department of Foreign Relations, addressed a conference in the European Parliament on human rights in Kurdistan and Iraq during a two-day official visit to Brussels this week.

Minister Mustafa also met with members of the European Parliament,  government officials from the European Union and Belgium and visited both the Iraqi Embassy and Kurdistan Regional Government Representation to the EU. He was accompanied by the KRG Representative to the EU, Delavar Ajgeiy.

At the European Parliament, Minister Mustafa met separately with the Leader of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats, MEP Hannes Swoboda. He aslo met MEP Charles Tannock who is the Conservative Foreign Affairs Spokesman in the European Parliament. In both meetings Minister Mustafa discussed a number of issues related to developments in Kurdistan, Iraq and the wider region. He also asked for their assistance in working towards recognition by the European Parliament of the crimes committed by the former regime against the Kurds as genocide.

Minister Mustafa also sought ways in which relations between the European Parliament and the Kurdistan Region can be strengthened. In his meeting with MEP Tannock, Minister Mustafa said, ‘We would like to see increased engagement from the European Parliament to help Iraq move in the right direction. We also hope that a friendship group focused on Kurdistan can be established inside the European Parliament.’ He reiterated the same message during his meeting with MEP Swoboda.

In his visit to the European Union offices, Minister Mustafa met with a group of officials from the European External Action Service headed by the Director for North Africa, Middle East, Arabian Peninsula, Iran and Iraq, Cristian Berger. During the meeting Minister Mustafa briefed the delegation on the significance of Iraq´s parliamentary elections, the current issues between Erbil and Baghdad, the Kurdistan Region´s relationship with Turkey and the need for the European Union to be engaged with Iraq.

Minister Mustafa also highlighted the importance of the EU having a representative office in Kurdistan, as well assistance from the EU to ensure that the Kurdistan Region is included and benefits from the cooperation agreements signed between Iraq and the EU. Mr Berger asked about the latest developments regarding Syria stressing that on a humanitarian level, this is the largest assistance operation the EU has ever been involved in.  Minister Mustafa highlighted the plight of the Syrian refugees in Kurdistan and asked for more humanitarian support for those refugees.

During the second day of the visit, Minister Mustafa attended a conference organised by the Chairman of the European Parliament’s Delegation for Relations with Iraq, Struan Stevenson MEP, and participated in two separate panel discussions on human rights in Iraq as well as in Kurdistan.

During the conference, which was attended by various representatives from Iraq, the Head of the DFR presented a speech on the latest developments in Kurdistan as well as the KRG's vision for the future. In his speech, the Minister said, ‘We in Kurdistan are proud of our culture of tolerance and peaceful coexistence. Respect for human rights is the guarantee for peaceful coexistence, progress and prosperity for people living together. This is what we have done in the Kurdistan Region.’

The KRG delegation also visited the Belgian Foreign Ministry where they met with the Head of the Iraq desk, Luc Truyens, and other officials, where they discussed a number of issues including the similar models of governance that exist in both Iraq and Belgium in terms of federalism and the devolution of powers from the centre to the provinces and regions. Minister Mustafa said, ‘We want to learn from other countries' experiences of federalism and especially Belgium, a country which like Iraq, is comprised of different ethnicities.’

Minister Mustafa also made a courtesy call on the Iraqi Embassy where he was received by Ambassador Mohammed Humaimidi. They discussed the latest political and security developments in Iraq, the talks between Baghdad and Erbil, and the upcoming Iraqi elections.

Minister Mustafa visited the KRG Representation in Belgium and was received by the KRG Representative, Delavar Ajgeiy, and met with all the employees at the Representation. Minister Mustafa thanked the KRG Representation team members for their hard work and efforts in conveying the KRG's policies to the European Union and expressed his hope that they would continue this work and aim to work towards strengthening relations with the European Union, the European Parliament and the Belgian government.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday, 23 February 2014 07:00

Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain – (KRG.org) – Minister Falah Mustafa, Head of the Department of Foreign Relations, yesterday addressed diplomats, government officials and academics at the Barcelona Centre for International Affairs (CIDOB), a leading Spanish think tank in the capital of the Catalonia Region. The visit to Barcelona is part of the minister's tour of Europe which has so far included Brussels.

This the first time that a Kurdistan Regional Government official has spoken at the CIDOB. The discussion was titled ‘A Changing Middle East: Views from Iraqi Kurdistan’ and the Minister was accompanied by the KRG Representative to Spain, Daban Shadal‎.

The Minister began by briefly introducing the history of the Kurdish people prior to the fall of the Baathist regime in 2003. He went on to talk about the achievements of the region in the past decade and the many challenges that remain.

Minister Mustafa described the impact of the Arab Spring on the whole Middle East and in particular the Kurdistan Region, which neighbours Syria and has given shelter to about 250,000 refugees from there.

Minister Mustafa said there is no military solution to the conflict in Syria and that the KRG supports the rights of Syria’s Kurds. The KRG has encouraged them to unite under one umbrella so that they can ensure their rights and demands are met in a new Syria. The Minister added that this conflict and others are part of a wider regional power struggle.

The Minister said that Kurdistan's security and stability has resulted in refugees fleeing there, not only from Syria but also from other parts of Iraq where both Christians and Arabs have faced violence.

He touched on Kurdistan's internal political and economic developments, as well as aspects of the social and cultural elements of life in the region.

Minister Mustafa spoke about relations with Kurdistan’s neighbors, highlighting the progress that has been made in relations with Turkey. He said, ‘Now we see Turkey openly discussing the Kurdish issue and President Barzani’s recent historic visit to Diyarbakir, where he spoke in Kurdish with Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan, was evidence of how far our relationship has come.’

Discussing KRG relations with Baghdad, the Minister said, 'The upcoming Iraqi parliamentary elections on April 30th will be a turning point and very important and critical for us.’ He said that the disputes between Erbil and Baghdad cover a range of issues that need to be resolved for the sake of all Iraqis.

Minister Mustafa concluded the seminar with the current economic climate in Kurdistan. He said, 'The Kurdistan Region has been able to attract $37 billion worth of investments, 2,600 foreign companies are active in Kurdistan and economic indicators keep improving because we have worked not only on the political process but also on economic, social and cultural aspects in order to provide a prosperous future for our people.'

 

 

 

 

Friday, 21 February 2014 07:00

 

 

 

Brussels, Belgium, Iraq – (krg.org) – The Head of the KRG Department of Foreign Relations, Minister Falah Mustafa, visited Brussels as part of a larger visit to Europe aimed at strengthening relations with European allies and conveying the KRG position on a number of key issues to the international community.

During the visit to Brussels, Minister Mustafa attended a conference hosted by the European Parliament on the Human Rights in Iraq and Kurdistan, met with MEP´s from the European Parliament, met with government officials from the European Union and Belgium, visited both the Iraqi Embassy and KRG Representation to the EU. He was accompanied throughout the visit by the KRG Representative to the EU, Delavar Ajgeiy.

At the European Parliament, Minister Mustafa met separately with the Leader of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats, MEP Hannes Swoboda and MEP Charles Tannock who is the Conservative Foreign Affairs Spokesman in the European Parliament. In both meetings Minister Mustafa discussed a number of important issues pertaining to developments in Kurdistan, Iraq and the wider region. He also asked for their assistance in working towards getting the European Parliament to recognize the crimes committed by the former regime against the Kurds as genocide.

Minister Mustafa also sought ways in which relations between the European Parliament and the Kurdistan Region can be strengthened. In his meeting with MEP Tannock, Minister Mustafa said, ‘We really would like to see increased engagement from the European Parliament to help Iraq move in the right direction. We also hope that a friendship group focused on Kurdistan can be established inside the Kurdistan Parliament.’ He reiterated the same message during his meeting with MEP Swoboda.

In his visit to the European Union offices, Minister Mustafa met with a group of officials from the European External Action Service headed by the Director for North Africa, Middle East, Arabian Peninsula, Iran and Iraq, Cristian Berger. During the meeting Minister Mustafa briefed the delegation on importance of Iraq´s parliamentary elections, the current issues between Erbil and Baghdad, the Kurdistan Region´s relationship with Turkey and the importance of the European Union to be engaged with Iraq.

Minister Mustafa also highlighted the importance of the EU having a representative office in Kurdistan, as well assistance from the EU to ensure that the Kurdistan Region is included and benefits from the cooperation agreements signed between Iraq and the EU. Mr Berger asked about the latest developments regarding Syria stressing that on a humanitarian level, this is the largest assistance operation the EU has ever been involved in with Minister Mustafa highlighting the plight of the Syrian refugees in Kurdistan and asked for more humanitarian support for those refugees.

During the second day of the visit, Minister Mustafa attended a conference organised by the Chairman of the European Parliament’s Delegation for Relations with Iraq, Struan Stevenson MEP, and had two separate panels with discussions in both revolving around the human rights situation in Iraq as well as in Kurdistan.

During the conference which was attended by various representatives from Iraq, the Head of the DFR presented a speech on the latest developments in Kurdistan as well as the future vision of the KRG. During his speech, the Minister said, ‘we in Kurdistan are proud of our culture of tolerance and peaceful coexistence. Respect for human rights is the guarantee for peaceful coexistence, progress and prosperity for people living together. This is what we have done in the Kurdistan Region.’

The KRG delegation also visited the Belgian Foreign Ministry where they met with the Head of the Iraq desk, Luc Truyens, and other officials, where they discussed a number of issues including the fact that similar models of governance exist in both Iraq and Belgium in terms of federalism and the devolution of powers from the centre to the provinces and regions. Minister Mustafa said, ‘We want to learn from other countries experiences of federalism and especially Belgium, a country which like Iraq, is comprised of different ethnicities.’

Also during the visit Minister Mustafa paid a courtesy visit to the Iraqi Embassy where he was received by Ambassador Mohammed Humaimidi where they discussed a number of issues pertaining to the latest political and security developments in Iraq in addition to updates regarding the talks between Baghdad and Erbil, and the upcoming Iraqi elections.

Finally Minister Mustafa visited the KRG Representation in Belgium and was received by the KRG Representative, Delavar Ajgeiy, and met with all the employees at the Representation. Minister Mustafa thanked the KRG Representation for their hard work and efforts in conveying the KRG policies to the European Union and expressed his hope that they would continue this work and hopefully aim to work towards strengthening relations with the European Union, the European Parliament and the Belgian government.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday, 16 February 2014 10:30

Salahaddin, Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRP.org) – As part of his efforts to help expedite the process of KRG government formation, Kurdistan Region President Masoud Barzani today met with Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) Deputy Leader Nechirvan Barzani and members of the KDP’s political bureau.

In today’s meeting, all sides emphasized that the new government should be formed as soon as possible.

The President also met with senior members of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) on Saturday and with leaders of Gorran Movement last week.

 

 

 

 

Wednesday, 19 February 2014 03:30

Salahaddin, Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRP.org) – Kurdistan Region President Masoud Barzani met Iran’s Ambassador to Iraq Hasan Danayifer in his office in Salahaddin.

The President and the Iranian ambassador discussed bilateral relations, political and security developments in Iraq and their effect on the region and neighboring countries. Both sides hailed the good relations that exist between the two sides and expressed hope that these ties will further strengthen

 

 

 

 

Thursday, 20 February 2014 03:30

Salahaddin, Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRP.org) – Kurdistan Region President Masoud Barzani met with leaders and representatives of 12 Syrian Kurdish parties that are part of the Kurdish National Council.

In this meeting, the attendants briefed the President about the latest developments in the Syrian Kurdistan and their activities in the Kurdish National Council. As per an agreement reached in December of 2013, the Kurdish National Council and the Kurdish People’s Council would have joint control of the Pishkhabor border crossing, but now the border is controlled only by the Kurdish People’s Council.

President Barzani reiterated his backing for a unified position among the Syrian Kurdish parties, and he would support any decisions made by consensus by all sides.

 

 

 

 

Tuesday, 18 February 2014 10:30

 Erbil, Kurdistan – Iraq (DFR.krg.org) – Minister Falah Mustafa, the Head of the Department of Foreign Relations, today thanked members of Britain's All-Party Parliamentary Group on the Kurdistan Region for their efforts to strengthen ties between the two countries and their work on raising awareness of the Kurdish genocide.

Minister Mustafa and the Assistant Head of the DFR, Siham Jabali today welcomed the delegation, which is led by the UK's former minister for the Middle East, Alistair Burt MP, and is in Kurdistan for a four-day visit. Among the delegation are Lord Glasman, Emma Grubb, and Gary Kent. Their visit to Kurdistan includes meetings with senior government and non-government officials to discuss the latest political and security developments in Kurdistan and Iraq, as well as challenges to the region.

Minister Mustafa said, ‘We have always welcomed APPG visits to Kurdistan and you have done a great job in raising awareness of Kurdistan and you have played an important role in the recognition of the Kurdish genocide before the British Parliament. Your friendship is highly valued by the people and leadership of Kurdistan.’

Commenting on his visit to Kurdistan, Mr Burt said, ’It has been a huge pleasure to return [to Kurdistan], not as a Minister being requested to come, but as a friend. We remain committed to further strengthening commercial, political and cultural ties with the Kurdistan Region.’

The British delegation was pleased to be back in Kurdistan for an update on the developments of the region. They expressed particular concern over how the conflict in Syria is affecting the broader region as well as the political situation in the Kurdistan Region.

Minister Mustafa briefed the delegation on the ongoing efforts to form a coalition government in Erbil that is likely to be a grand alliance of several parties, the impact of the Syrian refugee crisis, the security issues in Anbar province that have resulted in a number of refugees arriving in Kurdistan, the Kurdistan Regional Government's relations with Turkey and Baghdad, and the hydrocarbons law.

Both sides discussed areas of mutual interest and bilateral cooperation while expressing their desire to further strengthen and consolidate relations between the people and governments of both countries.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tuesday, 18 February 2014 03:30

 

 

 

Erbil, Kurdistan Region, Iraq (KRG.org) – Today, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between the Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) Department of Foreign Relations (DFR) and Invest in Group (IIG) to produce the ‘Kurdistan Review’ for 2014.

The MoU was signed by Head of the Department of Foreign Relations, Minister Falah Mustafa and the Managing Director of IIG’s ‘Kurdistan Review’, Can Yirik. This is the second MOU to be signed by both sides and follows from the success of last year’s MOU which has led to the successful publication of Kurdistan Review 2013.

The MoU signing ceremony was attended by senior officials from the KRG Department of Foreign Relations including Deputy Head of the DFR, Karwan Jamal, Deputy Head for International Organizations, Dindar Zebari and the Assistant Head of the DFR, Siham Jabali.

This year, a designated DFR team under the supervision of Minister Mustafa will be working closely with Invest in Group to ensure a second year of success for the publication.

The ‘Kurdistan Review’ is a comprehensive and leading review in Kurdistan that is published three times quarterly and one time annually and includes various content focusing on different aspects of the region. The reports highlight the many developments and opportunities in the public and private sectors.

In his opening remarks, Minister Mustafa said “we at the DFR are happyat the level of cooperation with Invest in Group and look forward to continue this partnership in 2014.” Minister Mustafa talked about the challenges of topping last year’s successful achievement and ensuring that ‘Kurdistan Review 2014’ will have fresh content and a new message for the international community.

On behalf of IIG, Can Yirik said: “We are honored to renew our partnership agreement with the DFR. Today’s emerging Kurdistan offers large opportunities to the global business community. Our aim is to introduce the people, ideas, trends, and most importantly the opportunities that are transforming Kurdistan into a key business and investment hub for its region and beyond.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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