The Bri­tish – Kur­dis­tan Re­la­tions are im­prov­ing

The Kurdish Globe - - NEWS - By Gazi Has­san

On 19 May, an of­fi­cial Kur­dis­tan Re­gion Govern­ment (KRG) del­e­ga­tion led by Nechir­van Barzani vis­ited Bri­tain and wel­comed by the For­eign Min­is­ter and some other govern­ment of­fi­cials and many rep­re­sen­ta­tives from the Lon­don mu­nic­i­pal­ity. Such an of­fi­cial visit to UK is con­sid­ered an im­por­tant and new step in the process of es­tab­lish­ing diplo­matic re­la­tions of the Kur­dis­tan Re­gion with the out­side world. The UK is not only a de­ci­sive great state in the world and Europe, but it’s one of the coun­tries that plays im­por­tant role in mak­ing in­ter­na­tional de­ci­sions and poli­cies. That’s why the Kur­dis­tan Re­gion is gen­er­ally in need of de­vel­op­ing such strate­gic, eco­nomic and cul­tural re­la­tions that are im­por­tant fac­tors be­hind build­ing a tight and trust­ful fu­ture with the UK through which Kur­dish ques­tion would head to­wards the right di­rec­tion of gain­ing more trust of in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity.

As I said, Bri­tain is not only a mil­i­tar­ily pow­er­ful and eco­nom­i­cally in­dis­pens­able state in the world, but it’s a ma­jor de­ci­sion maker in shap­ing the man­ner, meth­ods and the fu­ture of the in­ter­na­tional pol­icy. With re­gards to the East, Bri­tain is con­sid­er­ing it­self a part of the po­lit­i­cal, cul­tural and ad­min­is­tra­tive part of the Mid­dle East, es­pe­cially in Iraq where Bri­tain played a ma­jor role in shap­ing this state in the 1920s. The visit of the KRG’s Prime Min­is­ter is con­sid­ered an im­por­tant ini­tia­tive at the time the re­gion is un­sta­ble and ex­plo­sive. It’s not only Iraq which is go­ing through crises, but the whole Mid­dle East is fac­ing cru­cial prob­lems and ten­sions. The Kur­dis­tan Re­gion also has a share of these prob­lems.

We should men­tion that Bri­tain has the ex­pe­ri­ence of how to deal with the his­tory of Iraq. The Bri­tish army and govern­ment know that Kur­dis­tan is the vic­tim of the in­ter­na­tional pol­icy. So in a sen­si­tive pe­riod like now which the Mid­dle East is go­ing through, it’s sig­nif­i­cant that the Kur­dis­tan Re­gion de­vel­ops its po­lit­i­cal, eco­nomic, ed­u­ca­tional and cul­tural ties with Bri­tain. This can surely in­clude in­vest­ment and pro­duc­tion of oil, at­tract­ing the Bri­tish com­pa­nies to con­trib­ute to the con­struc­tion of Kur­dis­tan and the de­vel­op­ment of trade be­tween the two coun­tries.

In an of­fi­cial state­ment by the Bri­tish for­eign min­istry, the For­eign Min­is­ter met with the Kur­dish Prime Min­is­ter in Lon­don on 19 May, 2014 on his first of­fi­cial visit to the UK. Wil­liam Hague said af­ter the meet­ing: “We’re happy to re­ceive Nechir­van Barzani, KRG Prime Min­is­ter. The visit is an oc­ca­sion to ex­press our hap­pi­ness for the strong re­la­tions be­tween the UK and Iraqi Kur­dis­tan Re­gion. We have es­tab­lished bi­lat­eral re­la­tions that in­clude trad­ing, ed­u­ca­tion and cul­ture. It’s also an oc­ca­sion to in­sist on the in­ter­est of the UK to act as a fa­vorite part­ner to Kur­dis­tan in var­i­ous sec­tors.”

He con­grat­u­lated the Prime Min­is­ter for the achieve­ments gained in the Kur­dis­tan Re­gion in the re­cent years and for the rel­a­tive sta­bil­ity that the Re­gion is en­joy­ing de­spite the es­ca­lat­ing vi­o­lence in other ar­eas of Iraq and the neigh­bor­ing Syria. "We also had a dis­cus­sion about the lat­est Iraqi elec­tions and the com­ing steps to­wards form­ing a federal govern­ment," added the For­eign Min­is­ter. He also urged the Prime Min­is­ter and the Kur­dish par­ties to show readi­ness to par­tic­i­pate in the process.

Some im­por­tant points were dis­cussed here, in­clud­ing main­tain­ing the part­ner­ship be­tween Bri­tain and Kur­dis­tan Re­gion; po­lit­i­cally and strate­gi­cally they ap­pear as two states. That is why it’s vi­tally im­por­tant that the bi­lat­eral re­la­tions are dis­cussed on the first of­fi­cial visit. The de­vel­op­ment of the bi­lat­eral eco­nomic, ed­u­ca­tional and cul­tural re­la­tions is re­it­er­ated. The KRG del­e­ga­tion signed me­moran­dum of un­der­stand­ing with sev­eral of­fi­cial in­sti­tu­tions of the coun­try for fur­ther co­op­er­a­tion be­tween KRG and Bri­tish Govern­ment. A joint com­mit­tee is also to be formed for ac­ti­vat­ing and re­view­ing the bi­lat­eral re­la­tions and the re­quired steps needed for fur­ther de­vel­op­ment. The de­vel­op­ment of the eco­nomic, trad­ing and tourism sec­tors also was dis­cussed, adding to the diplo­matic and po­lit­i­cal re­la­tions as well of course. The Bri­tish For­eign Min­istry men­tioned the im­por­tant role the Kur­dis­tan Re­gion has played in pre­serv­ing the se­cu­rity and sta­bil­ity in an un­sta­ble Iraq. In ad­di­tion, the pos­i­tive role of the Kur­dis­tan Re­gion has been val­ued re­gard­ing the fear of the es­ca­la­tion of vi­o­lence and ter­ror­ist ac­tiv­i­ties in the neigh­bor­ing Syria. Syr­ian refugees and their res­i­dence in Kur­dis­tan was an­other topic of the dis­cus­sions. These are im­por­tant points that prac­ti­cally demon­strate the strong po­si­tion of Kur­dis­tan.

This im­por­tant re­la­tion and the rapid and trust­ful growth that Kur­dis­tan Re­gion is wit­ness­ing should be men­tioned with in­ter­est. The self-gov­ern­ing process of form­ing the new cab­i­net and the re­sults of the April 30th elec­tions in Iraq and the Provin­cial Elec­tions in Kur­dis­tan all these will strengthen the po­si­tion of Kur­dis­tan Re­gion which al­ready has an in­de­pen­dent ad­min­is­tra­tion. That is why as we said, in a flammable Mid­dle East, the self- govern­ment, de­vel­op­ing demo­cratic prin­ci­ples, re­turn­ing to the logic of mu­tual un­der­stand­ing and re­spect in case of any po­lit­i­cal cri­sis, and keep­ing away from self-im­pos­ing and the re­fusal of the hand­ing over of power, these all have en­hanced the rep­u­ta­tion of the Kur­dis­tan Re­gion and the Kur­dish author­ity.

Nechir­van Barzani, who is nom­i­nated by KDP to form the KRG’s eighth cab­i­net, was as­signed by Kur­dis­tan Par­lia­ment on 20 May to form the new cab­i­net, which has been show­ing pa­tience for more than seven months for mak­ing ground to a govern­ment of na­tional unity. It’s worth men­tion­ing that his deputy Qubad Tal­a­bani was a mem­ber of the del­e­ga­tion. Even though the dis­agree­ments were tough, but the mak­ing com­mon cause with the oth­ers and co-work­ing can be per­ceived within the KRG’s of­fi­cial del­e­ga­tion, which strengthen the ground for po­lit­i­cal, eco­nom­i­cal and trad­ing de­vel­op­ment in Kur­dis­tan. Bri­tain also, feel­ing the at­mos­phere and the op­por­tu­nity, urges many more com­pa­nies and in­vestors to work in Kur­dis­tan. As we know Bri­tain has a long his­tory in the area. That’s why, in a new era, there is a joint fu­ture to­gether be­tween both sides, which could be sum­ma­rized in some com­mon points such as: an­titer­ror­ism and vi­o­lence pol­icy in the area, work­ing for es­tab­lish­ing peace and sta­bil­ity and co­ex­is­tence, trad­ing and eco­nomic in­ter­ests, rais­ing aware­ness of democ­racy and hu­man rights. What is the most im­por­tant is to build a sta­ble, peace­ful and demo­cratic Iraq, in which Kurds play a vi­tal role.

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