Hon­est and con­sis­tent”

- Head of the De­part­ment of For­eign Re­la­tions

The Kurdish Globe - - NATIONAL -

tu­ally ben­e­fi­cial ties that could equally serve the in­ter­ests of both sides. Th­ese re­la­tions will ben­e­fit all of Iraq.

On the other side, ties be­tween Er­bil and Bagh­dad are not go­ing on the right di­rec­tion. Uni­lat­eral ac­tions by the Fed­eral Government and lack of com­mit­ment to the Er­bil agree­ment raise se­ri­ous ques­tions about the in­ten­tion of the Fed­eral Government. We are al­ways for strong re­la­tions with the fed­eral government, a government that abides by the con­sti­tu­tion and be­lieves in part­ner­ship and power shar­ing and in a fed­eral, plu­ral­is­tic, and demo­cratic Iraq.

The Kurds were of­ten viewed as po­ten­tially the “best friends” of U.S.A in the Mid­dle East, how­ever, it ap­pears that Kurds if any­thing are some­what frus­trated and an­noyed with the US. What is your view of cur­rent state of re­la­tions be­tween Amer­ica and Kur­dis­tan? Could Washington do more to re­solve dis­putes with Bagh­dad, and pres­sure Bagh­dad to im­ple­ment con­sti­tu­tional ar­ti­cles? Does Amer­ica have a balanced ap­proach to deal­ing with Iraq?

We ap­pre­ci­ate the sac­ri­fices made by the Amer­i­cans in over­throw­ing the former Iraqi regime and also to the re­con­struc­tion ef­forts fol­low­ing the re­moval of that regime.

We are for hav­ing good re­la­tions with the U.S. Our ties with the U.S are not only lim­ited to po­lit­i­cal in­ter­ac­tion be­tween the two sides. Amer­i­can com­pa­nies and pri­vate sec­tor are con­tribut­ing to the eco­nomic de­vel­op­ments in the Re­gion, par­tic­u­larly in the field of en­ergy. How­ever, we are not sat­is­fied with the level of Amer­i­can eco­nomic pres­ence and we would like to see more involvement form the Amer­i­can in­vestors and busi­ness­men.

Iraq is sup­posed to be a sov­er­eign coun­try and it has to take its mat­ters on its hands. The prime fac­tor be­hind lack of progress on solv­ing dis­putes among Iraqi po­lit­i­cal par­ties is lack of po­lit­i­cal will not lack of U.S in­ter­fer­ence. With­out po­lit­i­cal will, there will be no gen­uine so­lu­tions to the po­lit­i­cal cri­sis fac­ing Iraq.

In the midst of the deadly war to top­ple Bashar As­sad, Syr­ian Kurds have a unique op­por­tu­nity to de­ter­mine and gov­ern their own af­fairs. How is the KRG sup­port­ing their eth­nic brethren in Syria? Is the sit­u­a­tion in Kur­dish ar­eas of Syria viewed as an ex­ter­nal af­fair or a Kur­dis­tani af­fair by the Kur­dis­tan Re­gion lead­er­ship?

We are very con­cerned about what is hap­pen­ing in Syria and it is im­por­tant for us for two main rea­sons. Firstly, we share bor­der with Syria and what hap­pens in Syria af­fects the Kur­dis­tan Re­gion as well. Se­condly, there is a siz­able Kur­dish pop­u­la­tion in Syria.

We have al­ways en­cour­aged the Kur­dish peo­ple in Iran, Turkey, and Syria to find peace­ful and demo­cratic so­lu­tions to their dif­fer­ences with their re­spec­tive gov­ern­ments. Our po­si­tion on the Syr­ian cri­sis is very clear. We en­cour­age the Kurds in Syria to pre­serve their unity and re­al­ize their rights in the fu­ture state of Syria. We call for an end to blood­shed and vi­o­lence in Syria and we are for demo­cratic changes through peace­ful means.

What is the government’s stance in terms of re­forms de­manded by the op­po­si­tion par­ties, in­clud­ing the draft con­sti­tu­tion?

The government and Par­lia­ment are em­pow­ered by the vote of the peo­ple of Kur­dis­tan Re­gion. We do not claim per­fec­tion and we are mind­ful of our short­com­ings. The KRG is com­mit­ted to make mean­ing­ful re­forms and to im­prove gov­er­nance. We have a demo­cratic sys­tem and we are mak­ing con­certed ef­forts to en­hance gov­er­nance, de­crease bu­reau­cracy, and in­crease ef­fi­ciency.

Our lead­er­ship be­lieves that there has to be a na­tional con­sen­sus on the con­sti­tu­tion of the Kur­dis­tan Re­gion. The KRG Prime Min­is­ter, Nechir­van Barzani has con­sis­tently re­it­er­ated that the government has no red lines to­wards the re­forms de­manded by the peo­ple of the Kur­dis­tan Re­gion.

Fi­nally, fast for­ward 10 years, what kind of a Kur­dis­tan do you see?

It is hard to pre­dict the fu­ture but I can proudly say that the Kur­dis­tan Re­gional Government is mak­ing se­ri­ous ef­forts and tak­ing mean­ing­ful steps to pro­vide a pros­per­ous life for the peo­ple of the Re­gion. Do­mes­ti­cally, we are try­ing to pro­vide the high­est pos­si­ble stan­dard of life for our peo­ple through build­ing the in­fra­struc­ture, en­hanc­ing our econ­omy and de­vel­op­ing our in­sti­tu­tions, en­sur­ing the rule of law, pro­mot­ing civil rights, and in­vest­ing in our young gen­er­a­tion through var­i­ous pro­grams such as Hu­man Ca­pac­ity Devel­op­ment Pro­gram.

To­day there ex­ist in­ter­na­tional agree­ments that shape eco­nomic re­la­tions be­tween coun­tries of the world, and there ex­ists a time frame to im­ple­ment all th­ese eco­nomic agree­ments whether it is re­lated to in­dus­try, trade or ser­vices. We should not wait, rather we should act fast in or­der to at­tract for­eign di­rect in­vest­ment.

Ex­ter­nally, our ob­jec­tive is to es­tab­lish cul­tural, eco­nomic, ed­u­ca­tional, and po­lit­i­cal ties with in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity. We wel­come and value the diplo­matic and eco­nomic pres­ence of for­eign coun­tries in Kur­dis­tan Re­gion. Es­tab­lish­ing ties with in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity gives us the op­por­tu­nity to in­crease un­der­stand­ing not only about our past but also about our vi­sion for fu­ture and how in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity can con­trib­ute to po­lit­i­cal, cul­tural and eco­nomic de­vel­op­ments of our re­gion. We are will­ing to learn from the ex­pe­ri­ence of in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity and ready to uti­lize their knowl­edge and ex­per­tise in fur­ther de­vel­op­ing our re­gion.

Our first and last goal is to en­sure the rights of our ci­ti­zens, men, women, youth and chil­dren. The in­di­vid­ual is the foun­da­tion of progress and it is that in­di­vid­ual who can guar­an­tee the success of our in­sti­tu­tions and con­se­quently of the Kur­dis­tan Re­gion.

Bash­dar Pusho Is­maeel

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