PM Barzani: it’s time for a new chap­ter in the Mid­dle East story

Pre­mier Barzani says the KRG is com­mit­ted to the Iraqi con­sti­tu­tion, which guar­an­tees the rights and free­doms of the Kur­dis­tan Re­gion

The Kurdish Globe - - FRONT PAGE -

The Amer­i­can Univer­sity of Iraq-Su­laimani (AUIS) con­ducted its sec­ond an­nual in­ter­na­tional fo­rum on 4-5 March 2014. Sev­eral distin­guished lo­cal and in­ter­na­tional fig­ures and guests at­tended the fo­rum.

The fo­rum was en­ti­tled “Nav­i­gat­ing the Chal­lenges of the Mid­dle East”, and at­ten­deed were from coun­tries in­volved in find­ing a so­lu­tion for the re­gion.

The distin­guished guests at this year’s fo­rum in­cluded he Turk­ish Min­is­ter for For­eign Af­fairs, Ah­met Davouto­glu, KRG Prime Min­is­ter Nechir­van Barzani, Iraqi Min­is­ter of Higher Ed­u­ca­tion Ali Adeeb, Iraqi For­eign Min­is­ter Hosh­yar Ze­bari, the KRG Min­is­ter of Nat­u­ral Re­sources Ashti Hawrami, and for­mer US am­bas­sador to Iraq, Zal­may Khalilzad.

In his speech, KRG Pre­mier Barzani thanked the AUIS pres­i­dent and chan­cel­lor for or­ga­niz­ing such a sig­nif­i­cant fo­rum in Su- laimani. He also thanked Davu­to­glu for tak­ing part.

Barzani stated that the Mid­dle East needs to reeval­u­ate its past, adding that it is go­ing for­ward and a new chap­ter has to open in its his­tory.

He also told the guests that the cur­rent chal­lenges need a very spe­cial un­der­stand­ing if the so­cial and po­lit­i­cal struc­ture of the re­gion is to be adapted in such a way as to safe­guard sta­bil­ity and peace.

Re­gard­ing the cur­rent se­cu­rity, eco­nomic and po­lit­i­cal sit­u­a­tion in Iraq, he de­scribed the Iraqi govern­ment as a “failed state”.

Barzani added that the Kurds had ex­pe­ri­enced “dark times” un­der the for­mer Iraqi regime of Sad­dam Hus­sein be­fore 2003.

He crit­i­cized the Iraqi govern­ment for al­low­ing a large part of Iraq to suf­fer from in­ad­e­quate se­cu­rity, poor ser­vices, a lack of pub­lic fa­cil­i­ties, and deep and “par­a­lyz­ing” po­lit­i­cal dis­putes be­tween po­lit­i­cal par­ties and groups.

Barzani went on to crit­i­cize the Iraqi federal govern­ment, say­ing there was a lack of na­tional pur­pose in ad­dress­ing fu­ture prob­lems.

“Iraq is com­plete los­ing its author­ity and there has been a deep con­fronta­tion among the po­lit­i­cal forces,” KRG PM Barzani said.

Barzani also said that the KRG was com­mit­ted to a “demo­cratic, federal and plu­ral­is­tic” Iraq state, which guar­an­tees rights and free­doms for the Kurds un­der a mean­ing­ful con­sti­tu­tion.

The Kurds played a more cen­tral role af­ter 2003 in writ­ing a com­pre­hen­sive con­sti­tu­tion for the whole of Iraq in which all eth­nic­i­ties en­joy the same rights, no group is pri­or­i­tized and hu­man rights for all are guar­an­teed. Un­for­tu­nately, this con­sti­tu­tion has been vi­o­lated by the Iraqi govern­ment.

Barzani also ex­pressed his deep con­cerns over the fu­ture of Iraq and the na­ture of Er­bil-Bagh­dad re­la­tions.

The Kurds are a gen­uine part­ner in the new Iraq and in the Federal Govern­ment. He said that the KRG is very con­cerned and pes­simistic about the at­ti­tude of the Iraqi govern­ment to­wards the con­sti­tu­tional rights of Kur­dis­tan.

He said the cur­rent prob­lems are the out­come of past dis­putes which have now es­ca­lated, and that the di­rect threats be­ing is­sued by the Iraqi govern­ment are serv­ing to push the Kurds away from the rest of Iraq.

“The pres­sure is not help­ing in the search for suit­able so­lu­tions within our coun­try’s con­sti­tu­tional frame­work,” he said.

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