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Saturday, 27 March 2021 15:36

Erbil, Kurdistan Region, March 24, 2021

Kurdistan Region President Nechirvan Barzani attended the wreath laying ceremony of the late historian, Dr. Kamal Mazhar, which was arranged by the Kurdish Academy in Erbil. At the ceremony, which was attended by the representatives of Iraq’s Prime Minister, Iraq’s President, the Kurdistan Regional Government Minister of Culture, the late Dr. Kamal Mazhar’s wife and family as well as a number of writers and intellectuals. President Nechirvan Barzani laid a wreath at the casket of the late Dr. Kamal Mazhar and delivered the following speech:

The honorable representative of Iraq’s Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi,
Mr. Usman al-Ghanimi, the Interior Minister of Iraq,The Honorable Representative of the President, Honorable Guests,
Dear Authors and Intellectuals,
Mrs. Shahla Tahir Haidari, Wife of the late Professor Dr. Kamal Mazhar,
His Honorable Family and Relatives,

I welcome you to the wreath laying ceremony of the late Dr. Kamal Mazhar’s, who was a respected and valued renowned historian known for his contributions and research on the history of the Kurdish people and the region. I thank you all for being here today.

Dr. Kamal Mazhar was born in Kirkuk. Being Kirkuki is not an easy task. Since, unfortunately, over the past decades, for the Kirkuki Kurds, being Kirkuki meant a hard life, insecurity, and facing constant denial of one’s rights on their own land. Dr. Kamal Mazhar wrote about these struggles and provided evidence of the injustices committed against Kirkuk in his book, “Kirkuk and its Surroundings.”

Dr. Kamal Mazhar was a scholar of the history of Kurdistan and the greater region. His relentless efforts throughout his career shed light on the history of the Kurds, Kurdistan and the region, by investigating thousands of documents and explaining the chain of historical events. His work is exceedingly valued and influential.

This prolific historian, whom we all pay tribute to today, has authored books and research on the history of Kurdistan, and supervised hundreds of academic papers in the field of history while teaching at universities across Iraq.

Dr. Kamal Mazhar’s work continuously demonstrated the great bonds between nations and peoples. He sought to prove that different nations and peoples have coexisted in peace and harmony, but the wrongful policies of governments have often led to disputes among them.

As a Kurdish scholar, he sought to create a bridge between the people of this region through historical research and showed that their past coexistence is a testament to the existing solidarity between these people, contrary to the political rivalries that have driven the people of this region apart and antagonized them.

He was able to base his academic research on the history of Kurdistan through consistent scientific methods and rejected unfounded historical claims and unreliable sources. He used history as a science to uncover the facts surrounding historical events. This indeed is a great achievement within history studies, and also for people to base their own conclusions from on scientific facts and not on hearsay.

Dr. Kamal Mazhar never turned a blind eye to the mistakes and shortcomings of Kurds and their leaders, nor did he stop championing the Kurdish cause. He maintained relations with the leadership of Kurdistan and offered them valuable advice throughout the Ba’athist rule in Iraq.

Suppression of the Kurdish people by the regional governments never stopped Dr. Kamal Mazhar from learning and writing about about neighboring people. With the same academic integrity, Dr. Kamal wrote about the history of Iraq, Iran, the Azeris and the Armenians.

Dr. Kamal Mazhar was a great social activist. He wrote about women’s role in history at a time when the feminist movement in the world was still in its infancy, especially in Kurdistan. He viewed women as an important social component, spoke about their position in society and championed against reactionary views on women’s role. With the same commitment, Dr. Kamal Mazhar supported the plight of the Iraqi working class.

Honorable Guests,

Kurds and Kurdistan have endured suppression throughout history. Kurdistan has been subjected to destruction and its history has been distorted. The Peshmarga sacrificed their lives to preserve Kurdistan, while scholars, writers and intellectuals have endured hardships in order to preserve Kurdish language, and culture. It is therefore that scholars and writers like Dr. Kamal Mazhar deserve utmost respect.

Throughout the revolutions and liberation movements in Kurdistan, the Kurdish intellectuals and writers, played a crucial role in preserving the Kurdish language and culture in the absence of state and national institutions. They managed to do that because of their unwavering belief and great intellectual abilities despite economic difficulties. This is why the cultural movement in Kurdistan has continuously been strong despite the obstacles and lack of resources.

In the years following 2003, Dr. Kamal Mazhar wanted to continue his research elsewhere, which is why we supported him to bring his rich archive and library to Erbil. But unfortunately due to poor health conditions, he was not able to complete what he so passionately wanted to do.

We bid farewell to this great Kurdish scholar and historian who left us a legacy of national pride. He will live forever for his prolonged academic services in collages across Iraq while future generations will benefit from his contributions. The people of Kurdistan and the academic community in Iraq will always take pride in his work.

I sincerely thank the Kurdish Academy for arranging this ceremony. I welcome you once again. May Dr. Kamal Mazhar rest in peace. I,  offer my condolences to Mrs. Shahla Tahir Haidari, his wife, family and the people of Kurdistan and Iraq.

Thank you.

 

President Nechirvan Barzani’s speech at the wreath laying ceramony of the late Kurdish historian Dr. Kamal Mazhar - Presidency of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (gov.krd)

 

 

 

 

Friday, 26 March 2021 14:07

 Erbil, Kurdistan Region, March 24, 2021

Kurdistan Region President Nechirvan Barzani received Qatar’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani and his accompanying delegation.

At the meeting, attended by Kurdistan Region Vice President, Sheikh Jaafar Sheikh Mustafa and a number of officials, strengthening of Iraq and the Kurdistan Region’s relations with Qatar, the developments in the wider region and the importance of cooperation to secure regional peace and stability were discussed. Investment opportunities for Qatari businesses in the Kurdistan Region and Iraq, the efforts to contain the COVID-19 pandemic, the threats of ISIS resurgence and other topics of mutual interest were highlighted.

President Nechirvan Barzani welcomed the decision to open a Qatari general consulate in Erbil and viewed it as a further step to strengthen ties between Kurdistan Region and Qatar. The President underlined that the peace and stability and the investment laws in the Kurdistan Region support the private sector and Qatari investments in the Region and Iraq.

The President accepted a formal invitation by His Excellency Sheikh Khalid bin Khalifa bin Abdul Aziz al-Thani, the Prime Minister of Qatar to visit Doha. The President underlined the importance of Qatar’s role and leadership in the region and welcomed the efforts to normalize relations between Qatar and the Gulf countries. The President expressed hope that all sides work together in order to secure peace and stability in the region.

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Sunday, 21 March 2021 19:34

Erbil, Kurdistan Region, March 20, 2021

My fellow citizens,

On the occasion of Nawroz and the Kurdish New Year, I extend my warmest wishes to the families of our fallen heroes and the victims of the Anfal genocide. I congratulate the Kurdish people and all my fellow citizens in Kurdistan and abroad, the Kurdistan’s of the diaspora, and our brave Peshmerga and the security forces. I also extend my best wishes to all the nations who celebrate Nawroz around the world. May Nawroz bring peace, happiness and prosperity to everyone.

I extend my heartfelt gratitude and warmest wishes to all the medical teams and relevant authorities that have been in the forefront of the battle against the COVID-19 pandemic and continue to save lives and protect citizens for the second consecutive year.

We pay tribute to their colleagues who sacrificed their lives to save the lives of other people, and we honor the memories of all the people who lost their lives to the pandemic. I share the grief of their families and wish all the people battling the Covid-19 virus a speedy recovery. I thank the law enforcement authorities, police officers, security forces and the Peshmerga who have supported the efforts to contain the outbreak.

My fellow citizens,

Nawroz is a national celebration and a symbol of success, revival and freedom of the Kurdish people. It is a new year and a new beginning; it gives hope and empowers us. On this occasion, let’s learn lessons from our past mistakes, be kind and tolerant. Let’s look to a brighter future with optimism. Let’s build our strengths and  work together to overcome the challenges.

We need to stand united in order to achieve better livelihood for our fellow citizens and to secure the constitutional rights of the people of Kurdistan. We need to put an end to harmful rivalries and disagreements among political parties in the country. All of us, political parties and communities, needs to be tolerant as we work together for a better Kurdistan and to preserve its freedom and democratic principles.

Therefore, I will invite all parties to a joint meeting at the Kurdistan Region Presidency after Nawroz celebrations.

My fellow citizens,

We reiterate that the Kurdistan Region will cooperate and support any lasting settlement of the disputes with the Federal Government and the resolution of all the disagreements in Iraq, in order to maintain stability and peace in the country.

It must be recognized that the key to peace, stability and progress in Iraq is the resolution of the disagreements between the Kurdistan Region and the Federal Government.

We welcome any settlement that is not unilateral, and which safeguards the lawful rights of the people and components of Iraq, and preserves the constitutional rights of the Kurdistan Region, the federal system and the principles of partnership, consensus and balance. We urge the international community, the United Nations and the Security Council to support the resolution of Iraq’s problems.

On this occasion, once again we reiterate that the Kurdistan Region will remain a factor for peace, stability, coexistence, and tolerance. The Kurdistan Region will continue to cooperate, coordinate and work together with the international coalition and community. On the basis of mutual interests and values, the Kurdistan region will strengthen ties, cooperation and partnership with the regional neighbors and international communities. We will continue to confront terrorism and extremism.

I urge my fellow citizens to follow and respect all the necessary measures in order to protect themselves and others from the Covid-19 pandemic during the Nawroz holiday. As the Nawroz celebrations begin, I also urge my fellow citizens to drive safely and preserve the environment while camping outdoors.

May God bless Kurdistan, the people of Kurdistan and everyone around the world. Happy Nawroz to everyone. I hope all future celebrations are held in better conditions.

Nechirvan Barzani
The President of the Kurdistan Region

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Wednesday, 17 March 2021 14:20

Erbil, Kurdistan Region, March 17, 2021

Kurdistan Region President Nechirvan Barzani received Mr. Kotaro Suzuki, the Ambassador of Japan to Iraq, accompanied by the outgoing Head of the Consular Office of Japan, Ms. Nagayama Yoshiko.

Topics of discussion included Japan’s support and aid to Iraq and the Kurdistan Region, especially the aid that is provided by the Japanese NGOs and government organizations in the country. Discussions also focused on strengthening of Iraq and the Kurdistan Region’s bilateral ties with Japan, investment opportunities for Japanese businesses in the Kurdistan Region, the COVID-19 pandemic, the terror threats and latest developments in the Kurdistan Region.

The President expressed the gratitude of the Kurdistan Region to the government and people of Japan for the services provided by the Japanese NGOs and government organizations, especillay in areas of electricity, water and sanitation.

Ambassador Suzuki commended the peace and stability in the Region and expressed his country’s readiness to strengthen ties with Iraq and the Kurdistan Region. The Ambassador also thanked the Region for supporting and facilitating the work of Japanese organizations and NGOs in Kurdistan. Mr. Suzuki reaffirmed his country’s continued readiness to support Iraq and the Kurdistan Region.

Discussions also focused on the status of the displaced people and refugees in the country. It was stressed that the displaced and the refugees should voluntarily return, after restoring security in their reconstructed home areas.

President Nechirvan Barzani thanked the outgoing Head of the Consular Office of Japan, Ms. Nagayama Yoshiko for her support and services.

 

Sunday, 14 March 2021 12:23

TEHRAN – Describing the "Greater Kurdistan" idea as impossible, the Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) representative in Tehran emphasizes that this idea is like a far-fetched dream.

"The map of "Greater Kurdistan" may be the desire of some Kurdish parties, but putting it into practice and unification of all Kurds is impossible and is more like a dream because the geography of Kurdistan is divided into four regional countries: Iraq, Iran, Turkey and Syria,” Nazim Dabbagh tells the Tehran Times.

On Wednesday, the KRG had revealed samples of a proposed postage stamp to be printed on the occasion of the Pope's visit earlier this month. The stamp was said to have depicted a map that included provinces in Iran, Turkey, Syria and Iraq.

The stamp in question raised eyebrows in the region, causing tensions between the Iraqi Kurdish Regional Government and a number of regional countries.

The stamp was published to commemorate the recent four-day papal visit to Iraq that included a foray into Erbil, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan, on the third day.
Following is the text of the interview with Nazim Dabbagh:

Q: What is the Kurdistan Regional Government's official position (KRG) regarding the controversial stamps issued on the occasion of Pope Francis's historic visit to Iraq?

A: Regarding the photos of the stamps that were circulated recently, the KRG spokesman and a number of other Kurdish officials explained that these stamps don't reflect the official stance of the KRG, not to mention that they are not applicable project.

Indeed, the stamp design was proposed by a number of Christian artists to the KRG Ministry of Communications; however, it did not meet endorsement by the KRG.

KRG spokesman Jotyar Adel told reporters that Iraq's Kurdish region adheres to the Iraqi constitution and geographical unity. Therefore, this is an arbitrary act by some who have no connection with the Kurdish officials and is not approved by the KRG, especially given the geographical and political conditions of the Kurdistan region of Iraq.

Q: What do you think of the main reasons and consequences of such an action?

A: We saw the consequences and reactions, both from the Turkish government and its parties as well as Iran.

The Turkish government condemned this action and the spokesman for Iran's Foreign Ministry expressed Tehran's position objecting to the Iraqi government.

Both countries (Iran and Turkey) expressed objection to the Iraqi government over the stamp, and these objections are reminiscent of what happened when the KRG held a referendum on seceding from Iraq.

The Turkish government and parties denounced this move, and spokesman for Iran's Foreign Ministry, Saeed Khatibzadeh, explained Tehran's stance regarding the controversial stamps.

On the one hand, I think that in the current situation, we should be more careful and just pursue the rights and aspirations of the Kurdish people within the framework of the Iraqi constitution.

On the one hand, we must admit that there is no chance to alleviate the problems without the approval and support of neighboring countries and cooperation with the Iraqi government.

On the other hand, the Iraqi government must abide by the constitution to satisfy the demands of Kurds, then the Kurdish people feel that they are partners in the Iraqi state.

Q: The alleged map of "Greater Kurdistan" includes parts of Iran, Turkey, and Syria. What will be the repercussions of such an idea on the KRG's ties with its neighbors, especially as this idea is facing serious opposition from the central Iraqi government? 

A: The map of "Greater Kurdistan" may be the desire of some Kurdish parties, but putting it into practice and unification of all Kurds is impossible and is more like a dream because the geography of Kurdistan is divided into four regional countries: Iraq, Iran, Turkey and Syria. Each of these countries has its own distinct characteristics.

Today, we face delicate circumstances where we need to solve our problems and ensure the Kurds' rights and security within the framework of the constitution of the country in which they live. The Kurds are the partner of the Iraqi state and brothers of their Shia, Sunni and Arab fellows.

Q: Which sides would benefit from conflicts between the Kurdistan region and the regional states, especially the central Iraqi government?

A: Those who seek to destabilize the region are the most beneficiary side of these tensions.

 By magnifying the problems or tension between the Kurds with Iran and Turkey and even with Iraq's central government, these parties want to fish in troubled water.

Understanding the current situation, the Kurdish leaders and people must not allow enemies of security and stability in the region to take advantage of the differences and cause turmoil and concern about the Kurds. The Kurds are distributed in four countries of the region, so these countries' security and stability.

We should avoid any interference in the regional countries' internal affairs, as the territorial integrity and prosperity of these countries are important to the KRG.

https://www.tehrantimes.com/news/459086/Greater-Kurdistan-an-impossible-dream-KRG-representative


 

Tuesday, 09 March 2021 19:19

 Erbil, Kurdistan Region, Iraq (GOV.KRD) – Prime Minister Masrour Barzani today chaired a special meeting with relevant ministers in preparation for the tabling of the Kurdistan Region’s 2021 budget bill.

The Prime Minister, joined by Deputy Prime Minister Qubad Talabani, reviewed estimated expenditures and revenues from relevant ministries and headed a discussion on the current financial situation in the Kurdistan Region and ongoing preparations for the tabling of the Kurdistan Regional Government’s 2021 budget bill.

The budget bill will take into account the realities of the current state of affairs in the region and will be based on transparent data, oil and non-oil revenues, anticipated deficits, and net expenditures, aimed at strengthening the public finances of the Kurdistan Region.

The Prime Minister also received updates on the latest developments regarding the 2021 federal budget bill, which is scheduled for a vote next week by the Iraqi Council of Representatives.

The Prime Minister stressed that the Kurdistan Region remains committed to finding a peaceful and sustainable solution to outstanding issues between the regional and federal governments, including the Kurdistan Region’s financial entitlements as outlined in the Iraqi Constitution.

The Prime Minister expressed hope that Iraqi parties would welcome and support a call for Federal Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi to take immediate measures toward a political resolution between the Kurdistan Regional Government and the Federal Government of Iraq.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

Tuesday, 09 March 2021 14:29

Erbil, Kurdistan Region, March 8, 2021

We greatly recognize the value of His Holiness Pope Francis’ visit to Iraq and the Kurdistan Region, who made the journey despite all the concerns. I thank His Holiness sincerely. We are proud and honored by His Holiness’ praise of the culture of co-existence and tolerance in Kurdistan.

I thank all religious and ethnic communities in Kurdistan who took part in the reception ceremony and hosting of His Holiness, particularly the Muslim religious leaders and representatives of all other religious groups in Kurdistan and Iraq. They demonstrated the richness of Kurdistan’s culture, which is rooted in tolerance, fraternity and mutual respect among all its communities.

The only path towards healing the wounds of war and violence in Iraq, as His Holiness rightly pointed out in the Holy Mass in Erbil, is “tolerance, forgiveness and kindness which God expects from all of us.” As His Holiness emphasized, “God wants the heart to be cleaned, it must be purified from the falsehoods that stain it, from the duplicity of hypocrisy” and “revenge, which plunges us into a spiral of endless retaliation.”

We in the Kurdistan Region fully support His Holiness’ message of peace, tolerance, coexistence, and mutual respect, away from hatred, extremism, terror and revenge. These values are the pillars of the Kurdistani society and we continue to preserve them. I hope that, in both Iraq and the Kurdistan Region, we resolve the disagreements with the spirit and power of these values and messages of peace and tolerance.

I thank the cooperation between Iraq’s Federal Government and the Kurdistan Regional Government and all the relevant authorities which arranged this historic visit, in terms of protocol, organization and security, with excellence.

Nechirvan Barzani

Kurdistan Region President

 

Statement by the President of the Kurdistan Region, Nechirvan Barzani, on the conclusion of His Holiness Pope Francis’ Apostolic Journey to Iraq and the Kurdistan Region - Presidency of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (gov.krd)

 

 

 

 

Sunday, 07 March 2021 04:02

Erbil, Kurdistan Region, March 7, 2021

Kurdistan Region President Nechirvan Barzani received His Holiness Pope Francis, the Head of the Catholic Church, at the Erbil International Airport on Sunday morning.

As His Holiness descended the stairs to the tarmac at Erbil International Airport, Pope Francis pointed to the ground and told President Nechirvan Barzani: “I am happy that we meet again, here.”

Later at a meeting, attended by Kurdistan Region Prime Minister, Mr. Masrour Barzani, Vice President Mr. Mustafa Said Qadir, Deputy Prime Minister Mr. Qubad Talabani and Kurdistan Parliament Secretary Ms. Mona Qahwachi, President Nechirvan Barzani welcomed His Holiness and said: “On behalf of all communities in the Kurdistan Region, I warmly welcome you, Your Holiness. Your Holiness’ visit is a great historic event and the people of Kurdistan are very pleased and honored by it.”

The President of the Kurdistan Region stated: “We fully believe in religious freedom and a multi-faith society. Tolerance, coexistence, mutual respect among communities are the pillars of Kurdistan’s identity and culture. We intend to preserve this culture. We are always for peace and dialogue. We reject terror and extremism. We will never allow any religious or ethnic community to be subjected to terrorism and extremism.”

The President also stated that: “Kurdistan’s communities have fought against dictatorship and terrorism and have made great sacrifices together. Together, we share our past. We work together towards a shared and better future. Diversity, religious and ethnic communities have empowered and enriched Kurdistan Region. We do not want Christians, Yezidis, or any other community to leave their country.”

President Nechirvan Barzani reiterated that: “The Christian community is an ancient and main community of Kurdistan, who have peacefully contributed to the foundation, development and preserving the country in great ways. We have spared no efforts to protect them.”

The President concluded that: “Your Holiness’ visit will bring prosperity. We ask for your support and prayers for Kurdistan and all its communities.”

His Holiness Pope Francis stated: “Thank you very much, for this warm reception. I have wanted to visit the Kurdistan Region for a long time. I am happy that I was able to visit at your invitation. I greatly appreciate that you hosted the Christian refugees from Mosul and the Nineveh Plains, Qaraqosh and other communities, although you were fighting a war at the time. You have embraced the Christians.”

His Holiness also stated: “I am here to pray for you, for the Christians, and for all of humanity, together with you. The enemy came to destroy this country, but you managed to serve the country genuinely, and hosted the refugees and other groups of people. War is destruction and annihilation. But you defeated the enemy and reconstructed your country. I have come to visit this land. You are pure in heart. You have been compassionate towards all. Pray for me too. Thank you for everything that you do for all the faiths and communities. Freedom is in place in Kurdistan. Thank you again for your warm reception and hospitality.”

 

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