Honest and consistent”
- Head of the Department of Foreign Relations
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