Pres­i­dent Barzani meets world lead­ers in Switzer­land

Kur­dis­tan Pres­i­dent at­tends World Eco­nomic Fo­rum in Davos

The Kurdish Globe - - NATIONAL -

Fol­low­ing a visit to Davos, Switzer­land, to par­tic­i­pate in the World Eco­nomic Fo­rum, the Pres­i­dent of the Kur­dis­tan Re­gion, Mas­soud Barzani, and his ac­com­pa­ny­ing del­e­ga­tion had meet­ings with a num­ber of po­lit­i­cal and busi­ness lead­ers.

In ad­di­tion to his par­tic­i­pa­tion in the fo­rum, the Kur­dish Pres­i­dent met with sev­eral top rank­ing of­fi­cials from var­i­ous coun­tries across the world as well as eco­nomic lead­ers.

On the sec­ond day of his par­tic­i­pa­tion in the World Eco­nomic Fo­rum in Davos, Pres­i­dent Barzani held sep­a­rate meet­ings with the Dutch Prime Min­is­ter Mark Rutte, the Le­banese Prime Min­ster Na­jib Miqati, a US con­gres­sional del­e­ga­tion headed by ma­jor­ity leader’s Eric Can­tor, Switzer­land’s State Sec­re­tary for For­eign Af­fairs Yves Ros­seir and Pres­i­dent of the In­ter­na­tional Red Cross Peter Mauer. The Dutch Prime Min­is­ter praised the Kur­dis­tan Re­gion for its rapid eco­nomic growth and sta­bil­ity, and said his government will work to en­cour­age ma­jor Dutch com­pa­nies to in­vest in Kur­dis­tan. In this meet­ing, the Pres­i­dent and the Dutch PM also talked about the po­lit­i­cal de­vel- op­ments in Iraq and the on­go­ing cri­sis in Syria. The meet­ing be­tween the Le­banese PM and the Pres­i­dent cen­tered on strength­en­ing ties be­tween Kur­dis­tan and Le­banon, es­pe­cially as a large num­ber of Le­banese ci­ti­zens work in Kur­dis­tan. Prime Min­is­ter Miqati said his government in­tends to open a con­sulate in Er­bil in the near fu­ture. The two also dis­cussed the cri­sis in Syria, the in­creas­ing num­ber of Syr­ian refugees in both Le­banon and Kur­dis­tan, and the im­pact of the Syr­ian cri­sis on Iraq and Le­banon.

In his meet­ing with the US Con­gres­sional del­e­ga­tion, Pres­i­dent Barzani talked about the cur­rent chal­lenges fac­ing the po­lit­i­cal process in Iraq, ten­sions be­tween Er­bil and Bagh­dad, and de­vel­op­ments in the re­gion in gen­eral. Con­gress­man and Ma­jor­ity leader Eric Can­tor con­grat­u­lated Barzani for the achieve­ments that have been made in Kur­dis­tan.

Barzani also met with the Pres­i­dent of the In­ter­na­tional Red Cross Peter Mauer, who ex­pressed his or­ga­ni­za­tion’s grati- tude to the KRG for its close co­op­er­a­tion; he said staff from the Red Cross’s re­gional of­fice in Er­bil visit KRG prisons with­out any hin­drance. Also dis­cussed in this meet­ing was the sit­u­a­tion of Syr­ian refugees. In this meet­ing, Barzani thanked the Red Cross for its pos­i­tive as­sess­ment of the KRG. On the Syr­ian refugee cri­sis, he said that the Red Cross can play a role in de­liv­er­ing hu­man­i­tar­ian aid to peo­ple in­side Syria.

Also dur­ing his Davos visit, the Pres­i­dent and sev­eral Mid­dle East­ern lead­ers par­tic­i­pated in a roundtable meet­ing on the geopo­lit­i­cal im­pact of the Arab Spring in the re­gion.

In ad­di­tion to meet­ing with world and Mid­dle East­ern po­lit­i­cal and eco­nomic lead­ers, the Kur­dish Pres­i­dent met with top rank­ing of­fi­cials of the two Amer­i­can oil giants Exxon Mo­bil and Chevron.

On the first day of his visit, Barzani met with the Pres­i­dent of Exxon Mo­bil Mr. Rex Tiller­son in Zurich to dis­cuss the com­pany’s ac­tiv­i­ties in the Kur­dis­tan Re­gion and in Iraq.

The next day the Kur­dish del­e­ga­tion met with Chevron’s Global Head of Busi­ness Devel­op­ment Mr. Jay Pryor on the side­lines of the Fo­rum to dis­cuss the com­pany’s op­er­a­tions in the Kur­dis­tan Re­gion.

Mr. Pryor said the com­pany had made a great deal of progress in the short time that it has been work­ing in Kur­dis­tan. He also ex­pressed his com­pany’s grat­i­tude for the warm re­cep­tion and co­op­er­a­tion from the KRG.

Pryor em­pha­sized Chevron’s com­mit­ment to a long-term part­ner­ship with the KRG and said the com­pany had a strong de­sire to ex­pand its ac­tiv­i­ties in the Kur­dis­tan Re­gion. Com­mend­ing the de­ci­sion to work in Kur­dis­tan, Pres­i­dent Barzani as­sured Pryor of the Re­gion’s sup­port for the US oil gi­ant’s ef­forts. He said the re­la­tion­ship had a bright fu­ture and that it would be ben­e­fi­cial for both Kur­dis­tan and Iraq as a whole.

Dur­ing the meet­ing, Pryor was in­formed that Chevron’s bid for the Qara Dagh ex­plo­ration area was suc­cess­ful, and that a con­tract would soon be fi­nal­ized. Pryor pre­sented Barzani with Chevron’s an­nual cor­po­rate cal­en­dar, which this year features his­toric pho­to­graphs of Kur­dis­tan se­lected from the ar­chive of An­thony Ker­st­ing at Lon­don’s Courtauld In­sti­tute. Barzani thanked Chevron for their sin­cere in­ter­est and re­search into Kur­dis­tan’s his­tory and cul­ture. More­over, Barzani held talks with Turk­ish For­eign Min­is­ter Ah­met Davu­to­glu in Davos for dis­cus­sions on bi­lat­eral re­la­tions, cur­rent de­vel­op­ments in Iraq, and the sit­u­a­tion in Syria. On bi­lat­eral re­la­tions be­tween Turkey and the Kur­dis­tan Re­gion of Iraq, both sides ex­pressed their sat­is­fac­tion with the in­creas­ing ties and mu­tual co­op­er­a­tion and both also reaf­firmed their com­mit­ment to fur­ther en­hance th­ese ties. They con­curred that strong ties be­tween the two is not only in the in­ter­ests of both Turkey and the KRG, but also in the in­ter­ests of Iraq and the wider re­gion.

Re­gard­ing lat­est de­vel­op­ments in Iraq, Barzani said the cur­rent state of af­fairs in Iraq is un­ten­able and needs ur­gent at­ten­tion. He said the lead­er­ship of the Kur­dis­tan Re­gion will work with other Iraqi lead­ers to do what all they can to find a res­o­lu­tion to the cur­rent cri­sis. He added that the sit­u­a­tion has reached such a crit­i­cal level that it is threat­en­ing the whole po­lit­i­cal process in the coun­try.

The Pres­i­dent’s last meet­ing in Davos was with King Ab­dul­lah of Jor­dan, which fo­cused on strength­en­ing eco­nomic ties and de­vel­op­ments in Iraq and in the re­gion.

Sev­eral se­nior KRG of­fi­cials ac­com­pa­nied Pres­i­dent Barzani in this visit, which in­cluded KRG Deputy Prime Min­is­ter Imad Ah­mad, Pres­i­dent’s Chief of Staff Fuad Hus­sein, KRG Min­is­ter of Nat­u­ral Re­sources Ashti Hawrami, KRG Min­is­ter of Plan­ning Ali Sindi and KRG Head of For­eign Re­la­tions Falah Mustafa. This was the Kur­dis­tan Re­gion’s first par­tic­i­pa­tion in this in­ter­na­tional gath­er­ing.

Pres­i­dent Barzani Meets with Chevron Vice Pres­i­dent in Davos, Switzer­land.

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