Sunday, 22 December 2013 07:00

Today the world lost a great political leader who valued democracy and peace more than his own lost life in prison.

It is with the greatest sorrow we learned of the passing of Nelson Mandela, a man who personified the struggle for human dignity, equality and sense of justice.

Although he did not have a chance to visit Kurdistan, he felt strongly for the Kurdish cause and made it clear on several occasions that our struggle to survive and achieve justice was a universal call.

We also felt that we had many things in common with Mandela’s vision for his country. We admired his call for forgiveness, tolerance, non-violent political solutions, and truth and reconciliation.

For us, Mandela was a great reminder that years of imprisonment and suffering can be turned into tremendous strength for the greater good of the society, human dignity and a new source of inspiration.

The most important lesson I personally learned from Mandela’s life was to recognize past injustice and focus on future improvement of human conditions.

Mandela taught us that we can transform ourselves and our societies by doing what we humanly can to avoid revenge. By doing so he changed his his own country and most political leaders’ expectations. He taught the entire world that humility combined with determination can change the course of history in a constructive way.

Although we will be missing a great unifier, Mandela's words and deeds will remain with us for generations in the human struggle to provide a better prospect for humanity.

We will miss a great advocate of democracy, tolerance and non-violence.

Nechirvan Barzani,
Prime Minister of Kurdistan Regional Government





Sunday, 22 December 2013 14:00

Erbil, Kurdistan Region, Iraq – ( – The Chief Representative of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Shohei Hara, met today with the Head of the Department of Foreign Relations, Minister Falah Mustafa to discuss JICA’s new projects in the region as well as other areas of mutual interest.

The meeting was also attended by the Assistant Head of the DFR, Siham Jabali and JICA Senior Program Manager, Jalal Abdullah Sendory.

JICA is a Japanese independent government agency conducting humanitarian projects in the developing world. The agency started its operation in the Kurdistan Region by opening their office in 2009. They now, have an office in Baghdad as well.

Minister Mustafa welcomed Mr. Hara to Kurdistan and thanked him for the development projects that JICA has initiated in the Kurdistan Region. Minister Mustafa said, “JICA has been a great representative of Japan and your contribution is of great sentiment to the KRG.”

Mr. Hara briefed Minister Mustafa on the agency’s recent activities in Kurdistan. Currently JICA is financing three large projects in the field of infrastructure, two in the electricity sector and one in the water sector. Further projects are planned.

The Minister informed Mr. Hara of the Kurdistan Regions open-door policy. The KRG welcomes economic, political as well as cultural ties with all countries and would like to see a relationship with Japan flourish. “Your presence in the Kurdistan Region is important as we can mutually benefit from one another.”

Due to its security and fast growing economy, Kurdistan presents Japanese companies with endless opportunities. In return, the Region would benefit from Japans experience and their know-how.





Sunday, 22 December 2013 07:00

Erbil, Kurdistan Region, Iraq – ( – The Head of the KRG Department of Foreign Relations, Minister Falah Mustafa, today welcomed the new Ambassador of the Kingdom of Netherlands, Jeannette Seppen where they discussed a wide range of issues related to further strengthening ties between both sides.

The Assistant Head of DFR, Siham Jabali and the Head of the Dutch Embassy Liaison Office in Erbil, Jeroen Kelderhuis also attended the meeting.

Minister Mustafa congratulated Ambassador Seppen on her new post, assuring her that the KRG will continue assisting and supporting the Dutch mission in Iraq.

Ambassador Seppen was impressed by the region's development in such a short span of time, and was also pleased to have met so many different Dutch Kurds who are now contributing to society after spending large parts of their lives in the Netherlands.

Despite the progress that Kurdistan has made, Minister Mustafa stressed that the KRG strongly believes that there is a lot more that needs to be done. He asked Ambassador Seppen for support in starting cooperation between public and private institutions, in addition to educational and cultural exchange programs and human resource development cooperation.

Advancements in the private sector such as the implementation of financial institutions were also discussed and both sides agreed on the importance of strengthening institutional and private sector ties between Kurdish and Dutch companies.

Minister Mustafa also briefed Ambassador Seppen about the latest political developments in Kurdistan including the ongoing government formation process. Minister Mustafa added that the objective is to build a broad based government that is representative and works for the stability and prosperity of the region.

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