Pres­i­dent Barzani joins the 237th an­niver­sary of Amer­i­can In­de­pen­dence Day

KRG and the U.S. keep on strength­en­ing bi­lat­eral re­la­tions

The Kurdish Globe - - NEWS -

The Pres­i­dent of Kur­dis­tan, Ma­soud Barzani, joined the celebrations for the 237th an­niver­sary of the U.S. Dec­la­ra­tion of In­de­pen­dence in Er­bil on Wed­nes­day 3 July 2013.

The event was also at­tended by KRG min­is­ters and lo­cal of­fi­cials, rep­re­sen­ta­tives of busi­ness and academia, the gover­nors of Er­bil and Duhok and for­eign diplo­mats.

Speak­ing at the event, the Con­sul Gen­eral of the United States in Er­bil, Mr. Paul Stephen, said: “I am de­lighted that you are join­ing us as we cel­e­brate Amer­ica’s In­de­pen­dence Day. Amer­i­cans are a peo­ple whose roots ex­tend all over the world, in­clud­ing to Iraq and the Kur­dis­tan re­gion.”

He thanked Pres­i­dent Barzani for his pres­ence at the event, say­ing: “Pres­i­dent Ma­soud Barzani, thank you for hon­or­ing us with your pres­ence—Zor Su­pas.”

The Con­sul Gen­eral also said that In­de­pen­dence Day is the birth­day not of a king or queen, but of an idea that has shaped the world.

“We cel­e­brate the Fourth of July be­cause it marks the date on which we signed our Dec­la­ra­tion of In­de­pen­dence,” the Con­sul Gen­eral said.

“The Dec­la­ra­tion of In­de­pen­dence stands as the moral and philo­soph­i­cal com­pass for the United States’ val­ues as a na- tion, and a bold state­ment for the rights of all hu­man­ity.”

Mr. Stephen also added that all Iraqis are all too fa­mil­iar with the costs of tyranny and op­pres­sion, af­firm­ing that “The peo­ple must rule. They must never be ruled.”

“As we mark the 237th birth­day of the United States, all of us who have had the priv­i­lege of rep­re­sent­ing our coun­try in Iraq are grate­ful for the friend­ship of, and part­ner­ship with, the Iraqi peo­ple, in­clud­ing our friends and part­ners here in the Kur­dis­tan re­gion.”

He told those present that he will be hand­ing his po­si­tion over to a new con­sul soon, when he re­turns to Wash­ing­ton DC to take up a new as­sign­ment. Mr. Stephen then in­tro­duced the new U.S. Con­sul Gen­eral in Er­bil, Mr. Joseph Pen­ning­ton, who will be serv­ing in the post for the next two years.

He an­nounced that the con­sulate granted its first visa last week to a young Kur­dish stu­dent trav­el­ing to the US as part of the In­ter­na­tional Vis­i­tor Lead­er­ship Pro­gram. He also said the con­sulate will be­gin work on a new, larger com­pound next year.

In the con­text of US as­sis­tance to Iraq, the United States has played its part in the de­vel­op­ment of this dy­namic re­gion. Since 2003, the United States has in­vested well over $1b in the Kur­dis­tan Re­gion on build­ing schools, hos­pi­tals, bridges, court­houses and elec­tric­ity sub­sta­tions, in­clud­ing the $198m Ifraz wa­ter project, which now brings wa­ter to the res­i­dents of Er­bil. The U.S. has also made sig­nif­i­cant con­tri­bu­tions to Er­bil In­ter­na­tional Air­port and the city’s Po­lice Col­lege.

More re­cently, the con­sulate has been in­volved in train­ing po­lice and im­mi­gra­tion of­fi­cers, and worked with its part­ners in the KRG to im­prove higher ed­u­ca­tion and the func­tion­ing of its min­istries and lo­cal gov­ern- ments.

With the cur­rent cri­sis in Syria, the con­sulate has made a $44 m com­mit­ment to sup­port­ing Syr­ian refugees in Iraq—the vast ma­jor­ity of those refugees are Syr­ian Kurds seek­ing refuge in the Kur­dis­tan re­gion.

Mak­ing a speech at the event, Min­is­ter Falah Mustafa Bakir, Head of the Depart­ment of For­eign Re­la­tions of the Kur­dis­tan Re­gional Govern­ment (KRG), spoke on be­half of the KRG pres­i­dency. He stated that the friend­ship be­tween the U.S. and Kur­dis­tan is now firmly es­tab­lished, adding that Kur­dis­tan is now sta­ble and pros­per­ous and that the two par­ties will now strive side by side to strengthen bi­lat­eral re­la­tions.

The Con­sul Gen­eral also stated that the United States re­mains ab­so­lutely com­mit­ted to as­sist­ing its part­ners as they make the dif­fi­cult jour­ney to­wards pro­mot­ing their com­mon ideals and mak­ing them a com­mon re­al­ity.

The U.S. Con­sulate Gen­eral will con­tinue its work as a part­ner and sup­porter of strong re­la­tions be­tween the United States and Kur­dis­tan.

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