President Nechirvan Barzani in Vienna: Austria aims to enhance diplomatic and trade relations

Vienna, Austria, July 2, 2024

Following his one-day visit to Austria and meeting with Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen, President Nechirvan Barzani highlighted the purpose and outcomes of his visit and addressed several issues concerning Iraq and the Kurdistan Region during a press conference in Vienna today.

President Nechirvan Barzani stated, “As you know, we have a longstanding relationship with Austria that goes back many years. The last time the Austrian Foreign Minister visited the Kurdistan Region and Iraq, he extended an invitation for us to visit Austria. Today, we had a very productive and lengthy meeting with the Foreign Minister. We discussed with both the President and the Foreign Minister how to enhance relations between Iraq and the Kurdistan Region. We believe Austria wants to develop this relationship both politically and economically. They have now opened their embassy in Baghdad, and we requested that they open a consulate in Erbil. We expressed our sincere gratitude to President Van der Bellen for his warm welcome today and look forward to seeing these relations flourish and deepen across all areas.”

Regarding the relations between Baghdad and Erbil, the President said, “I believe the relations between the Kurdistan Region and Baghdad are at a good level. This does not mean that we have solved all the problems, but our visits to Baghdad—myself, the Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Region, and other delegations from the Kurdistan Regional Government—are all part of the combined effort to address these issues and that Baghdad is treating the Kurdistan Region in the same manner. While I do not believe these problems will be solved overnight, the current steps taken by both sides are towards resolving them. We will continue our efforts in the Kurdistan Region to address these problems. Baghdad is our capital, and we must make serious efforts to resolve the issues that affect the lives and welfare of the people of the Kurdistan Region.”

Addressing the investigation into the recent market fires in Erbil, Kirkuk, and Duhok and the subsequent arrests, President Nechirvan Barzani stated, “The arrests were the result of a joint operation between Baghdad and the Kurdistan Region, involving the Kurdistan Regional Government’s Ministry of Interior and security agencies in full coordination with Baghdad. The Kurdistan Region did not act unilaterally. This was a joint effort between the Kurdistan Regional Government and Baghdad. Based on what the investigation and what has been said, it is evident that the PKK was behind these incidents in Erbil and Kirkuk. As for the PUK, there is no evidence that the PUK as a party supported these actions. The investigation conducted in Baghdad, which was broadcast on television, revealed that there may be some individuals who are members or were former members. It is a different issue. However, as a political entity, there is no evidence implicating the PUK in these incidents.”





Kurdistan Region President meets with President of Austria

Vienna, Austria, July 2, 2024

President Nechirvan Barzani held a meeting with Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen in Vienna on Tuesday afternoon to discuss mutual cooperation and Austria’s relations with Iraq and the Kurdistan Region.

Both leaders praised the longstanding history and current state of their relations, highlighting the developments in Iraq and the Kurdistan Region. They emphasized the importance of the Erbil-Baghdad dialogue in addressing issues in accordance with the Constitution. Additionally, they discussed federalism and the upcoming parliamentary elections in the Kurdistan Region.

President Nechirvan Barzani expressed his appreciation for Austria’s ongoing support and assistance in Iraq and the Kurdistan Region, and commended Austria’s preparedness and contribution within the international coalition against ISIS. President Van der Bellen reaffirmed his nation’s unwavering support for the people of Kurdistan and their rights.

The meeting also addressed the status and rights of communities in the Kurdistan Region and Iraq. Both parties acknowledged the need for the international community to provide assistance to the Yezidis, who have been severely impacted by ISIS.

The discussion, which included the Iraqi Ambassador and the Kurdistan Regional Government Representative in Austria, also centered on the connections between Iraq and the Kurdistan Region with neighboring countries, climate change, and the importance of extensive collaboration to address its threats.





President Nechirvan Barzani meets with Foreign Minister of Austria

Vienna, Austria, July 2, 2024

President Nechirvan Barzani met with Austria’s Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg in Vienna on Tuesday afternoon.

Their discussions primarily focused on enhancing Austrian relations with Iraq and the Kurdistan Region, particularly in the economic and trade sectors. Additionally, they exchanged views on the progress in Iraq and the Kurdistan Region, as well as Austria’s role within the international coalition against ISIS.

President Nechirvan Barzani praised Austria’s enduring ties with the Kurdistan Region and expressed gratitude for Austria’s assistance and support during challenging times.

In response, Foreign Minister Schallenberg welcomed President Nechirvan Barzani’s visit, underscoring the strong relations between Austria and Iraq and reiterating Austria’s unwavering support for both Iraq and the Kurdistan Region.

The meeting also addressed topics such as the refugee situation in the Kurdistan Region, the ISIS threat, migration, and other mutual concerns. The Iraqi Ambassador and the Kurdistan Regional Government Representative in Austria were present at the meeting.





President Nechirvan Barzani meets with European Union Ambassador

Erbil, Kurdistan Region, April 16, 2024

President Nechirvan Barzani met with Thomas Seiler, Ambassador of the European Union to Iraq, earlier today. During their discussion, they shared perspectives on the upcoming Kurdistan parliamentary elections, emphasizing the significance of these elections in revitalizing legitimacy and the democratic process. The EU Ambassador commended President Nechirvan Barzani for his concerted efforts to ensuring the elections take place and for addressing challenges to the electoral process.

Erbil-Baghdad relations and the resolution of their issues were thoroughly discussed by both parties. The European Union’s Ambassador emphasized the significance of President Nechirvan Barzani’s recent visit to Baghdad, his meetings with senior Iraqi officials, and his dedication to resolving the outstanding matters. Additionally, they also deliberated on the enhancement of EU trade relations with Iraq and the Kurdistan Region, while acknowledging the importance of upholding peace and stability in the region.


President Nechirvan Barzani receives French Ambassador

Erbil, Kurdistan Region, April 16, 2024

President Nechirvan Barzani held a meeting earlier today with Patrick Durel, the French Ambassador to Iraq. They engaged in fruitful discussions that encompassed the ongoing Baghdad-Erbil matters, the latest developments in the Kurdistan Region, as well as France’s relations with both Iraq and the Kurdistan Region.

Both sides underscored the importance of holding the Kurdistan parliamentary elections with the participation of all parties. Additionally, they expressed optimism regarding the progress made in the negotiations between the Kurdistan Regional Government and the Federal Iraqi Government.

Furthermore, the meeting provided an opportunity to address the overall situation in the region, along with several other topics of mutual interest.


President Nechirvan Barzani’s message on the 126th anniversary of Kurdish journalism

Erbil, Kurdistan Region, April 22, 2024

I extend my warm congratulations to all journalists in Kurdistan on Kurdish Journalism Day, commemorating the 126th anniversary of the first issue of “Kurdistan” newspaper by Mir Miqdad Badrkhan, as well as the 26th anniversary of the establishment of the Kurdistan Journalists Syndicate.

On this occasion, I wish to emphasize the importance of creating a supportive environment for media professionals. It is crucial to ensure that journalists have unrestricted access to information sources, free from any form of discrimination, restrictions, or censorship. By doing so, journalists can effectively fulfill their professional responsibilities in monitoring institutions, raising public awareness, and contributing to the development of democracy and societal progress.

I reaffirm my unwavering support for journalists and my firm belief in freedom of the press and expression as the fundamental principle of any democratic and free society. I urge journalists to adhere to the principles of journalistic ethics and the laws governing journalism. Furthermore, they should actively promote social harmony, political stability, and prioritize the best interests of the people and the nation.

We also acknowledge the vital role played by local and international organizations in monitoring the state of press freedom and freedom of expression in the Kurdistan Region. It is essential that all relevant parties handle any journalism-related cases in accordance with the established laws governing journalism in Kurdistan.

Lastly, I pay tribute to the memory of the journalists who made the ultimate sacrifice for their profession, and those courageous individuals who dedicated their lives to upholding the truth and advancing Kurdistan’s journalism, whether in earlier times of struggle or in today’s era of freedom.

Nechirvan Barzani
President of the Kurdistan Region


President Nechirvan Barzani at the Sulaimani Forum: The country must bring us all together

Sulaimani, Kurdistan Region, April 17, 2024

President Nechirvan Barzani participated in the opening ceremony of the 8th Sulaimani Forum, an event organized by the American University of Iraq in Sulaimani. The forum was attended by a notable gathering of politicians, academics, and researchers from the Kurdistan Region, Iraq, and beyond. During the ceremony, President Nechirvan Barzani delivered a speech addressing the current situation in Iraq, the Kurdistan Region, and the wider region.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Before beginning my speech, I would like to extend my heartfelt congratulations to our Yezidi brothers and sisters on the occasion of the New Year, on behalf of the Sulaimani Forum. On behalf of everyone present here, we convey our warm wishes for a joyous year ahead.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Welcome to Sulaimani, the cultural capital of the Kurdistan Region. Welcome to the Annual Sulaimani Forum at the American University of Iraq. I congratulate my dear friend, Dr. Barham Salih, and the entire organizing committee for their efforts in bringing together this event in Sulaimani. Dr. Barham’s dedication and contributions to Sulaimani are truly commendable. This university and its annual tradition of hosting this meeting have become a cherished part of Sulaimani, the Kurdistan Region and Iraq; and as a half Sulaimani myself, I thank him very much.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The Sulaimani Forum is taking place amidst a highly delicate regional and global context. Intense conflicts and heightened tensions have permeated the Middle East, presenting a grave peril to the tranquility and stability of the region, and exacerbating the already dire circumstances.

Following the attack by Hamas on Israel on October 7th last year, and the abduction of numerous civilians, the ongoing conflict in Gaza has caused immense devastation. The situation has led to a severe humanitarian crisis, necessitating the immediate implementation of the UN Security Council resolution. It is imperative that the fighting ceases unconditionally and that the hostages are released without delay.

We believe that the fundamental resolution that will achieve a stable, lasting, peace is the two-state solution. The Kurdistan Region supports the establishment of an independent Palestinian state as the only viable path to lasting peace.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The Kurdistan Region has consistently advocated for dialogue and the pursuit of peaceful resolutions. Through fostering harmonious relationships with our friendly neighboring countries, we have successfully established remarkable instances of partnership, economic advancement, and shared development. Our commitment to peace has paved the way for numerous collaborative opportunities. It is my firm belief that as we embark on forthcoming significant endeavors, we will further enhance the strides we have made thus far.

We are committed to ensuring that the Kurdistan Region does not pose a threat to any nation. Our primary focus is on enhancing economic cooperation. We firmly believe that fostering economic growth will lead to greater political stability and harmonious coexistence within the area.

The journey towards democracy and rebuilding in the Kurdistan Region commenced in 1991. Numerous nations united to dismantle the Ba’ath regime in Iraq due to its threat to its citizens, neighboring countries, and the global community. We fostered a remarkable era of democracy, reconstruction, and peace, in parallel with that regime.

Following the largest campaigns of genocide, the Anfal operation and chemical attacks on the people of Kurdistan, we believed that peace was the way forward, not conflict. Subsequently, we initiated trade and economic opportunities with neighboring countries, fostering partnerships and positive relations. This was made possible by the unwavering commitment of our leadership and citizens to democracy and peace.

The success of the Kurdistan Region’s experience led to the success of the Iraqi resistance. As we stood strong, all Iraqis stood strong. The Kurdistan Region emerged as the focal point for the Iraqi opposition’s triumph over the dictatorship.

The international community extended their support to us because our project was centered around democracy and peace. In this endeavor, our friends in the region, particularly Turkey and Iran, have played a crucial role in fostering economic partnership and facilitating our progress. It is important to emphasize that our unwavering commitment to democracy and peace remains unchanged.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

In Iraq, we are on the same path. To deepen democracy in Iraq and to prevent a repeat of the perils and tragedies of the past, we need continuous peaceful dialogue.

Disputes and assaults on each other persistently pave the way for terrorist organizations. If we had been united in Iraq, the al-Qaeda attacks and the major ISIS attacks would not have happened.

Iraq’s history has been marred by the oppressive rule of dictatorship, the dominance of a single community, and the absence of political freedom. Countless innocent Iraqis have suffered under oppressive regimes, causing immense pain and loss. The nation’s wealth, accumulated over decades, has been squandered. It is imperative that we take action now to eliminate any avenues that may contribute to the growth and empowerment of terrorist organizations in Iraq.

The Iraqi people have successfully reached a consensus on a suitable constitution since 2005. Through the adoption of a federal system, the Iraqi Constitution has paved the way for a harmonious partnership among all Iraqi nations and communities. This partnership holds the key to fortifying Iraq’s stability and advancement. Therefore, it is crucial that the federal system is fully embraced and implemented, regardless of any skepticism from certain parties. Let us ensure that the progress of Iraq remains uninterrupted and the Constitution is upheld.

It is crucial for all nations and communities in Iraq to view themselves as equal partners in the governance of the country. Disregarding any Iraqi community can lead to negative consequences, as history has shown that this approach has been detrimental to the well-being of all citizens in Iraq.

The Federal Republic of Iraq is fortunate to have a Prime Minister, Mr. Mohammed Shia Sudani, who possesses a broad perspective and unwavering faith in the Iraqi Constitution. This steadfast approach has greatly contributed to the stability of governance in Iraq, which is palpable to the Iraqi people. Such a governance style holds immense potential to propel Iraq towards a brighter future, presenting a truly remarkable opportunity for the nation.

The Prime Minister’s vision requires backing and a more conducive political environment. It is now the duty of Iraqi political parties to provide support, extending the same to the Federal Iraqi Government. The future of Iraq looks promising with full implementation of the Constitution and federal system.

The handling of the Kurdistan Region serves as a significant test for the new Iraqi political structure. A robust Iraq hinges on a strong Kurdistan Region, just as a stable Kurdistan Region relies on a federal and secure Iraq.

There is no issue in Iraq that cannot be resolved through constitutional implementation. The Iraqi Constitution safeguards the identities of all Iraqi communities. By upholding the Constitution, every individual will enjoy equal rights as a citizen of Iraq.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

There is an old saying in Sulaimani about ‘repeating mistakes’.

The Kurdistan Region is currently facing a complex situation, and it is crucial for us to find common ground, strive for progress, and avoid making the same mistake again. Failing to do so will only exacerbate the tensions in this volatile region, causing significant harm to all of us.

The people of Kurdistan’s collective desire for unity among political parties is a reflection of their heartfelt aspirations. The history of genocide and oppression endured by the people of Kurdistan has instilled a shared goal of unity within their hearts. This unity is not only the right path to follow but also a testament to the deep consciousness of the people of Kurdistan.

We have earned a positive reputation in the world not through division but through democracy, prosperity, and stability in this intricate region. Those who visited Kurdistan thirty years ago and return today would be amazed by the progress we have made. We have built this prosperity despite the challenges posed by the Anfal campaign and chemical attacks. With our increased expertise, we have the potential to further enhance and expedite our progress.

This university, along with numerous others in the Kurdistan Region, is currently nurturing a remarkably talented and accomplished generation. A new era has dawned in Kurdistan, and we are elated by the exceptional level of perceptiveness displayed by these individuals. If the political parties seize the opportunity to create a conducive environment for this generation, Kurdistan will undoubtedly make significant progress.

I am often asked why I am so optimistic, and my answer lies in the resilience and diversity of the people of Kurdistan. Despite a troubled past, I firmly believe that a bright future awaits us.

The people of Kurdistan stand united, and it is imperative for the political parties to align their interests with those of their constituents. By doing so, we can ensure transparent and equitable elections, with the consent and active participation of all parties involved.

The Kurdistan Parliament is a crucial institution in the region that must be safeguarded. The Kurdistan Regional Government has successfully rebuilt the country following devastating events such as the Anfal and chemical attacks. It is imperative that we show our support. The Peshmerga forces have played a significant role in defeating ISIS and bringing honor to Kurdistan on a global scale. These achievements give us hope and encourage us to come to agreements amongst ourselves. By working together, we can achieve greater prosperity and success.

While it is natural for individuals and groups in Kurdistan to have criticisms and complaints against the authorities, it is essential that we unite to protect and defend our region despite our differences. Political figures may come and go, but Kurdistan remains. We must not allow our frustrations with authorities and politicians to jeopardize the stability of Kurdistan. The resilience of the people of Kurdistan has been proven time and again, demonstrating our ability to overcome challenges and rectify mistakes. Therefore, we can be confident that we will overcome all obstacles and resolve any conflicts.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The pace at which the world is progressing is astonishing. In order to stay connected with the developed nations and not be left behind, it is imperative that we address the challenges and conflicts in Iraq and the Kurdistan Region. We need to utilize our resources, both material and human, to propel science, knowledge, and technology forward. It is crucial to strengthen our education system and foster scientific research.

The advancements in science and technology, along with the opportunities and risks associated with artificial intelligence, nanotechnology, and climate change, demand our utmost attention. Tackling these issues requires dedicated efforts, perseverance, and long-term strategies at both individual and institutional levels.

I firmly believe that by focusing our thoughts, actions, and abilities towards this objective, we can pave the way for a future that belongs to those who dedicate their time, thoughts, and abilities to the pursuit of science and knowledge, rather than dwelling on the past.

I am confident that this gathering in Sulaimani will provide us with valuable insights and expertise, enabling us to collaborate and achieve success collectively.

Thank you sincerely, and best of luck to you all.


President Erdoğan reaffirms Türkiye’s continued support for Iraq and the Kurdistan Region

Erbil, Kurdistan Region, April 22, 2024

Türkiye’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his delegation arrived in the Kurdistan Region on Monday evening. They were warmly welcomed at Erbil International Airport by Kurdistan Region President Nechirvan Barzani, Prime Minister Masrour Barzani, Deputy Prime Minister Qubad Talabani, and several ministers and senior officials of the Kurdistan Region.

During their meeting, President Erdoğan’s visit to Baghdad and his meetings with senior Iraqi officials were discussed. The focus was on Türkiye’s relations with Iraq and the Kurdistan Region, particularly in the economic and trade sectors. Security measures were also a topic of discussion.

President Nechirvan Barzani expressed the Kurdistan Region’s strong desire to enhance relations with Türkiye in all areas. He emphasized that the Kurdistan Region has always been a source of peace and stability in the region. Additionally, he thanked Türkiye for its support during challenging times.

Prime Minister Masrour Barzani also reiterated the Kurdistan Regional Government’s commitment to strengthening relations and promoting economic and trade cooperation with Türkiye. He highlighted the job and investment opportunities available for Turkish companies across various sectors. Furthermore, he expressed gratitude for Türkiye’s continued support and their dedication to implementing projects despite economic difficulties.

President Erdoğan reaffirmed his country’s unwavering support for Iraq and the Kurdistan Region. He expressed Türkiye’s readiness to cooperate and further expand relations in all fields. President Erdoğan also emphasized the importance of maintaining peace, stability, and resolving regional issues while ensuring the rights of all communities.

The discussions also covered the latest developments in the wider region, border security, the fight against terrorism, and other matters of mutual interest.


KRG Prime Minister Hosts Diplomats from Iraq and Kurdistan Region

On Thursday, December 7, 2023, the Kurdistan Regional Government's (KRG) Prime Minister, Masrour Barzani, hosted a Christmas & New Year’s Dinner Reception for ambassadors, consul generals and diplomatic envoys based in Iraq and the Kurdistan Region, marking the Christmas and New Year holidays.

Prime Minister Barzani extended Christmas greetings and heartfelt wishes for a joyful and prosperous new year to the diplomats.

In his address, Prime Minister Barzani expressed profound concern and sorrow over the civilian casualties in Middle East conflicts. He stressed the urgency of resolving these conflicts through dialogue and peaceful means. He also highlighted the need for resolving outstanding issues between the Kurdistan Region and the Iraqi federal government, advocating for solutions grounded in the Iraqi constitution and respect for Kurdish rights.

Furthermore, Prime Minister Barzani discussed the significant challenges posed by climate change and its detrimental impacts on communities. He called for increased international cooperation and coordination to effectively address the growing threats of climate change.





KRG Prime Minister Engages in Key Talks with UNAMI Chief

On December 16, 2023, Masrour Barzani, Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), met with Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI).

Their discussions focused on the ongoing Provincial Council Elections, unresolved issues between the Kurdistan Region and the federal government, and the importance of protecting the rights of diverse communities within the Kurdistan Region.





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