US and UK for­eign min­is­ters visit Kur­dis­tan

Er­bil is not only a prov­ince, but also a sig­nif­i­cant po­lit­i­cal cen­tre in the re­gion now

The Kurdish Globe - - FRONT PAGE -

Kur­dis­tan Re­gional Pres­i­dent Mas­soud Barzani shakes hand with For­eign Sec­re­tary of the UK Wil­liam Hague on Fri­day June 27, 2014.

Pres­i­dent Ma­soud Barzani wel­comed US Sec­re­tary of State John Kerry and the United King­dom’s For­eign Sec­re­tary Wil­liam Hague in Er­bil this week. The pres­i­dent dis­cussed the lat­est po­lit­i­cal and se­cu­rity de­vel­op­ments in Iraq af­ter the ISIS of­fen­sives in Mo­sul and the Sunni ar­eas.

US Sec­re­tary of State John Kerry em­pha­sized on the ne­ces­sity for the Iraqis to rid of ISIS and other ex­trem­ists.

Kerry made ref­er­ence to the fact that the Kur­dis­tan Re­gion has achieved re­mark­able progress in the past ten years, and urged other Iraqis to look up to Kur­dis­tan for what they have achieved.

Kerry stated that the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion is closely fol­low­ing the events in Iraq and is con­cerned about the spread and strength­en­ing of ter­ror­ism in Iraq. He also ex­pressed his coun­try>s sup­port for a new in­clu­sive govern­ment in Bagh­dad, which would rep­re­sent all the com­po­nents of the Iraqi so­ci­ety.

For his part, Pres­i­dent Barzani re­it­er­ated his grat­i­tude to the govern­ment and people of the United States for their sac­ri­fices and con­tin­u­ous sup­port for Iraq.

Dur­ing the meet­ing the Pres­i­dent out­lined the var­i­ous stages in the po­lit­i­cal process of the past decade in Iraq and noted that our al­lies have failed to im­ple­ment the Con­sti­tu­tion and sub­se­quent agree­ments.

The Pres­i­dent added that the Kur­dis­tan Re­gion has demon­strated great flex­i­bil­ity and has al­ways been ready to ad­dress the is­sues, but these is­sues have re­cently been wors­ened and that we have col­lec­tively failed to re­solve them.

Pres­i­dent Barzani said: «We be­lieve that Bagh­dad is try­ing to marginal­ize us, as was the case with the pre­vi­ous regime, but the people of Kur­dis­tan have made great sac­ri­fices for their free­dom and they would never ac­cept this sub­ju­ga­tion.»

In the fight against ter­ror­ist groups, the Pres­i­dent stated: «The people of Kur­dis­tan are against ter­ror­ism in all shapes and forms and have been the vic­tims of ter­ror­ism them­selves, but the fight against ter­ror­ism has been a pre­text for sec­tar­ian ri­val­ries and we can­not be part of this.»

«The Pesh­merga forces are re­spon­si­ble for the pro­tec­tion of Kur­dis­tan and there have been con­stant threats from ter­ror­ist groups and the Pesh­merga forces have made sac­ri­fices and they are al­ways ready to con­front these threats,” said the Pres­i­dent.

Pres­i­dent Barzani fur­ther added: “Any so­lu­tion to the cur­rent cri­sis in Iraq ought to be on the ba­sis of the new re­al­i­ties. If there still is an op­por­tu­nity for Shi­aas and Sun­nis to work to­gether based on the new re­al­i­ties, then it would be much eas­ier to con­front the ter­ror­ists.»

Sec­re­tary Kerry urged the Pres­i­dent to con­tinue his leading role in the Iraqi po­lit­i­cal process and added that if there is progress in the po­lit­i­cal process, the United States will then as­sist Iraq in its fight against ter­ror­ism.

Pres­i­dent Barzani and Sec­re­tary Kerry em­pha­sized on the need for po­lit­i­cal so­lu­tions in­stead of mil­i­tary op­tions.

Meet­ing of Pres­i­dent Barzani and Hague

Mr. Hague, in his first visit to Kur­dis­tan, stated that un­less Iraq’s po­lit­i­cal and se­cu­rity chal­lenges are ad­dressed ur­gently, the sit­u­a­tion would fur­ther de­te­ri­o­rate.

He urged Pres­i­dent Barzani and the KRG to play an ac­tive role in re­viv­ing the po­lit­i­cal process in Bagh­dad and help form a new govern­ment that is gen­uinely in­clu­sive and rep­re­sen­ta­tive.

The For­eign Sec­re­tary also praised the Kur­dis­tan Re­gion Pesh­merga forces for putting a stop to ISIS ad­vances into the dis­puted ar­eas.

He also thanked the KRG for tak­ing in large num­bers of refugees flee­ing from vi­o­lence in Ni­nawa prov­ince and added that the UK govern­ment plans to help this hu­man­i­tar­ian ef­fort by the KRG.

Pres­i­dent Barzani briefed the For­eign Sec­re­tary about the causes of the cur­rent po­lit­i­cal and se­cu­rity cri­sis fac­ing Iraq, crit­i­ciz­ing the wrong poli­cies by the au­thor­i­ties in Bagh­dad.

The Pres­i­dent said that ter­ror­ist groups have been able to ex­ploit the mis­takes by Bagh­dad. He agreed with the For­eign Sec­re­tary that pri­or­ity should be given to po­lit­i­cal so­lu­tions, rather than mil­i­tary ones.

The Pres­i­dent re­it­er­ated that any so­lu­tion must be in light of the cur­rent facts on the ground and that the Kur­dis­tan Re­gion would not pay the price for the fail­ures of the poli­cies of Bagh­dad.

He went on to say that Bagh­dad has failed to work on the ba­sis of real power-shar­ing in the past ten years, which in turn has led to the cur­rent dan­ger­ous sit­u­a­tion.

In a joint press con­fer­ence fol­low­ing their meet­ing, Pres­i­dent Barzani said: “We tried for more than 10 years with Iraq to solve the Kirkuk is­sue. Pesh­merga Forces have only been sent to those ar­eas when the Iraqi army has with­drawn. They were sent to fill a se­cu­rity vac­uum. Now, the Ar­ti­cle 140 of the Con­sti­tu­tion is im­ple­mented and fin­ished and we won’t be talk­ing about it any­more.”

Kur­dis­tan Re­gional Pres­i­dent Mas­soud Barzani and For­eign Sec­re­tary of the UK Wil­liam Hague speak dur­ing a press con­fer­ence on Fri­day in June 27, 2014. They dis­cussed the lat­est po­lit­i­cal and se­cu­rity de­vel­op­ments in Iraq fol­low­ing the lat­est ISIS ad­vances in Mo­sul and other ar­eas in Iraq.

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