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Thursday, 16 January 2014 07:00

Salahaddin, Kurdistan Region of Iraq ( – Kurdistan Region Presidency Chief of Staff, Fuad Hussein, said in a statement that President Masoud Barzani along with a KRG delegation began a visit to a number of European countries on Wednesday.

Fuad Hussein said that the President is scheduled to meet a number of world leaders and officials. He will also attend the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, where is due to meet several leaders and attend a number of sessions on the economic and political developments in Kurdistan, in Iraq, and in the wider region.

Kurdistan Region Presidency Chief of Staff Fuad Hussein, KRG Natural Resources Minister Ashti Hawrami, and KRG Head of Foreign Relations Department Falah Mustafa will accompany the President on this visit.




Friday, 17 January 2014 07:00
Erbil, Kurdistan Region, Iraq - ( – The Kurdistan Region is open to any country that wants to engage with it politically and economically and to share in its development, President Masoud Barzani says in the Kurdistan Review, a publication launched this week.
The Kurdistan Review, published by Invest In Group, is a joint project in partnership with the Kurdistan Regional Government's Department of Foreign Relations (DFR). It consisted of three quarterly reviews published in 2013 followed by the annual review launched last week.
In the publication, President Barzani says, ‘Our strategy is one of openness, and extends to any and all countries that are interested in developing relations with the Kurdistan Region.’
Speaking about the strong ties between Kurdistan and Turkey, President Barzani says, ‘This relationship further reflects the idea that the modern world is based on mutual interests, particularly those relating to economics. Above all else, economics allows for development and the pursuit of solutions to complex problems.’
The Kurdistan Review's annual publication includes three supplements: a guide to key attractions in Erbil, a detailed document outlining the latest facts and figures across the Region reflecting its economic growth, and a start-up guide for businesses seeking to establish a foothold.
Invest In Group conducted over 100 interviews with high-ranking officials and executives from successful private companies operating in Kurdistan. The annual publication also contains new investment opportunities, strategies and projects by KRG ministries and departments.
Minister Falah Mustafa Bakir, Head of the Department of Foreign Relations, signed the agreement with IIG in November 2012. Commenting about the launch of the publication, he said, 'This is the most comprehensive report to cover our key industries and economy. I believe it will present readers with the latest information about our continued growth, the areas where the authorities are seeking outside expertise and the many opportunities for trade and investment. Our broad aim is to show that Kurdistan is open to making new business and diplomatic relationships while maintaining old ones.'
Can Yirik, the Regional Director of Invest In Group, said, ‘During the  project, our team met with all the key figures from the public and private sector in order to present a comprehensive picture of the economy and to portray the most up to date economic developments in the Kurdistan Region.’
Thursday, 16 January 2014 17:30

Erbil, Kurdistan Region, Iraq – ( – The Ambassador of Japan to Iraq, Masato Takaoka, met today with the Head of the KRG Department of Foreign Relations (DFR), Minister Falah Mustafa as part of his farewell visit to Kurdistan as his tenure in Iraq comes to an end.

The Assistant Head of the DFR, Siham Jabali and Takashi Matsumoto from the Japanese Embassy also attended the meeting.

Minister Mustafa and Ambassador Takaoka spoke about the progress made in bilateral relations since the Ambassador‘s posting to Baghdad. During his tenure, Ambassador Takaoka has supported a number of political, commercial, and humanitarian initiatives in the Kurdistan Region. 

Both sides also discussed the Syrian refugee crisis, with Minister Mustafa briefing the Ambassador on the outcomes of the 2nd International Humanitarian Pledging Conference for Syria, which took place in Kuwait City yesterday. Minister Mustafa went on to thank Japan for their role and humanitarian contribution in the Kurdistan Region.

Ambassador Takaoka informed Minister Mustafa that the International Organization for Migration (IOM) observation field visit to the Basrma refugee camp was a great success and received a lot of press coverage from a major Japanese news agency.

Ambassador Takaoka thanked Minister Mustafa for his warm hospitality and support during his post as the Japanese Ambassador to Iraq.

Minister Mustafa wished the Ambassador success in his new posting and concluded by saying, ‘I enjoyed working with you and I look forward to working with your successor.’ With its open door policy, the KRG looks forward to further strengthening bilateral relations with Japan as Ambassador Takaoka’s successor begins his new post.








Sunday, 12 January 2014 03:30

Erbil, Kurdistan Region, Iraq – ( – The Head of the KRG Department of Foreign Relations, Minister Falah Mustafa, today met with Alfred Bratanek, Deputy Head of Mission in the Austrian Embassy in Amman, Jordan along with a joint delegation from the Austrian and Slovenien Foreign ministries, to discuss the opening of a new visa center in Erbil.

The Assistant Head of the DFR, Siham Jabali, and the KRG Representative to Austria, Dr. Mustafa Ramazan also attended the meeting.

The purpose of Mr. Bratanek’s visit to Kurdistan is the initiation of the first visa center of its kind – the center runs through a private company.

Minister Mustafa was briefed on the mechanism of the visa process and was assured that this step will provide yet another opportunity to further enhance and intensify the existing mutual ties between Austria and Kurdistan.

The Minister assured the visiting delegation that the KRG appreciates the efforts of the Austrian and Slovenian governments and stressed that steps such as the opening of this office would pave the way for increased relations between all sides involved.

Also discussed during the meeting was future cooperation in the fields of tourism, economy, agriculture as well as educational and cultural exchange programs between the countries and the Kurdistan Region. Minister Mustafa said, ‘We are in favor of a long term strategic relationship benefitting both sides.’

The Kurds and the KRG have a long standing relationship with the people and government of Austria. During times of suffering, the Republic of Austria opened its doors to fleeing refugees.

The opening of a visa center is part of a greater Austrian initiative to expand commercial ties between the two governments.

Minister Mustafa concluded the meeting by thanking Mr. Bratanek and his delegation and said, ‘This is good news for the Kurdistan Region and Iraq as a whole and you can count on us as a friend and a partner.’





Tuesday, 14 January 2014 10:30

Salahaddin, Kurdistan Region of Iraq ( – Kurdistan Region President Masoud Barzani today welcomed UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon in the capital Erbil.

In their meeting, the President and the UN Secretary General talked about the situation of Syrian refugees in Kurdistan, the conflict in Syria and preparations for the Geneva II conference, and relations between Erbil and Baghdad.

The UN Secretary General praised the security and stability and development that the Kurdistan Region enjoys and added that the Kurdistan Region has come a long way in terms of reconstruction, provision of services and construction.

Mr. Ban Ki Moon also thanked the President and the people and government of Kurdistan for taking in the Syrian refugees and said that the UN plans to increase its humanitarian assistance to the refugees in Kurdistan.

After warmly welcoming the UN Secretary General, President Barzani said the Kurdistan Region opened its doors to Syrian refugees at the beginning of the conflict. He said providing refuge to the Syrian refugees is both a humanitarian and national obligation for our people. Due to large numbers of refugees, the Kurdistan Region is unable to adequately assist the refugees, said the President. He asked the UN and the international community to help the KRG meet its duty to help the refugees.

On the planned Geneva II conference, President Barzani expressed his hope that it leads to a positive outcome, where the refugees could return to their homes and there would be an end to the suffering of the Syrian people.

On relations between Erbil and Baghdad, the President reiterated that Iraq is government by a constitution which defines the both the relationship between the Region and Baghdad, and the rights and responsibilities of each side. “We are committed to this constitution and commitment to this constitution is a prerequisite for Iraq to remain one country. We ask all sides to be committed to this constitution, and it is our policy to use dialogue to resolve our problems based on the constitution,” said the President.

President Barzani reaffirmed KRG’s full support and cooperation with the UN and its agencies based in Kurdistan.





Friday, 10 January 2014 07:00

Salahaddin, Kurdistan Region of Iraq ( – President Barzani today met with Iraq’s acting Defence Minister Sadoon Al-Dulaimi in Salahaddin.

In their meeting, Mr. Dulaimi briefed the President about the security as well as political aspects of the current crisis in the Anbar province, and Iraqi government’s response to reestablish peace and security in that province.

President Barzani reiterated that all sides should work together in the fight against terrorist groups. He also emphasized the need to resort to dialogue with the tribal leaders of the Anbar province to restore security in the province.




Saturday, 11 January 2014 07:00

Salahaddin, Kurdistan Region of Iraq ( - U.S. Vice President Joe Biden spoke with the Kurdistan Region President Masoud Barzani on Thursday. The two discussed the latest political and security developments in Iraq and expressed their support for the efforts by both Iraqi leaders and the local tribal leaders to fight the terrorist groups in the Anbar province. They also both emphasized the need for dialogue to address Iraq’s political challenges.

During the telephone conversation, the two also discussed relations between Erbil and Baghdad and agreed that the current exchange of visits and the talks to continue between the two sides with the aim of reaching understanding on the issue of oil exports from the Kurdistan Region.

President Barzani expressed his readiness to work with other Iraqi leaders to diffuse the current crisis. The U.S. Vice President emphasized the strong U.S. support for a unified and federal Iraq as defined under the Iraqi constitution.





Saturday, 11 January 2014 07:00

Salahaddin, Kurdistan Region of Iraq ( – The President of the Kurdistan Region, Masoud Barzani, today hosted the foreign diplomats and representatives from international organizations based in the Kurdistan Region in order to discuss the latest political and economic developments in Kurdistan as well as in Iraq as a whole.

At the outset of the meeting, the Head of the KRG Department of Foreign Relations, Falah Mustafa briefed President Barzani about the priorities and activities of the Department of Foreign Relations including enhancing relations and cooperation with the foreign diplomatic representations in the region. Minister Mustafa added that the KRG is constantly working to improve and expands its ties with the international community.

‘The number of foreign diplomatic representations is constantly growing and we will soon witness the opening of the consulates of China, Kuwait and Bulgaria, and with this the number of foreign diplomatic representatives will increase to 29. In collaboration with diplomatic missions, we have managed to increase the number of commercial flights between the Kurdistan Region and the outside world.’

Minister Mustafa went on to say, ‘I want to thank those countries which have offered their assistance to the Syrian refugees in Kurdistan. I also want to thank those countries which have offered their support to the KRG in its efforts to seek recognition of the crimes against the Kurdish people as genocide.’

In his remarks to this annual gathering, President Barzani wished the members of the diplomatic corps a Happy New Year and then shed light on a number of key issues facing Iraq and the Kurdistan Region, particularly the efforts currently underway to form the new KRG government, the crisis in the Anbar province, relations between Erbil and Baghdad, and participation of the Kurds at the upcoming Geneva II conference on Syria.

‘We know that the government formation process has taken longer than we expected, but we wanted to form a broad-based government that included all political sides. We want to form a government that will maintain stability and calm and provide services to the people, a government that will lead to four years of harmony and development,’ said President Barzani.

Regarding the latest security situation in the Anbar province of Iraq, President Barzani said, ‘We are concerned about the security situation in Iraq and particularly in Anbar. This crisis is the result of an accumulation of problems which the Iraqi government should have addressed in the past. There is a danger that this crisis may spread to other provinces. We believe that the intervention of the Army will probably make the crisis more complicated.’ The President added that the Iraqi government must respond to the legitimate demands of the people Anbar and prevent the fight against terrorists from turning into sectarian strife between Shiites and Sunnis.

Regarding ties between Erbil and Baghdad, the President said: “There has been an exchange of visits and currently talks are underway between the two sides to reach agreement on the outstanding issues, including on Article 140, on funding for the Peshmerga forces and on oil and gas. We are ready to play a role in addressing the challenges facing Iraq, but it is important that no side is marginalized in the political process.” He also expressed his hope that the planned Iraqi parliamentary elections are held on time in April of this year.

President Barzani also talked about the humanitarian situation of the Syrian refugees in Kurdistan and the participation of Syrian Kurds in the planned Geneva II conference.

‘There are now more 250,000 Syrian refugees in Kurdistan. In addition to this, there has been an increase in the number of internal refugees from Anbar province, as well as the thousands of Arab and Christian families which have sought refuge in the Kurdistan Region in the past. All this has put a lot of strain on the KRG resources and we ask the international community to assist us in hosting these large numbers of refugees.”

On behalf of the diplomatic corps, the Consul General of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Seyed Azim Hossaini, who is also the dean of the diplomatic corps, thanked President Barzani and the KRG Department of Foreign Relations for the this opportunity.

At the end of the meeting, a question and answer session followed, and diplomats had the opportunity to ask specific questions of the President.





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