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President Barzani asks Parliament to begin work on referendum

Kurdistan Region President Masoud Barzani visited the Iraqi Kurdistan Parliament yesterday, requesting the Parliament to immediately undertake the task of creating an independent electoral commission for the Region, and to begin preparations for holding a referendum for the people of Kurdistan to decide their future.

In his remarks to the Parliament, the President urged Members of Parliament to “promptly create an independent electoral commission and to begin preparations for holding a referendum to determine the future, as this would strengthen our hand. The time has come for us to determine our future; we should no longer wait for others to determine our future. In the meantime, we will do whatever we can to help Shia and Sunnis to save the country from this crisis.”

The President stated that the wrong policies of the Iraqi government and the collapse of the Iraqi Army have caused the current security crisis in the governorates of Anbar, Ninewa, Salahaddin, and Diyala. He said that four days prior to the events in Mosul the KRG offered to cooperate with Baghdad to confront the terrorist groups, but this was rejected by Baghdad.

Regarding the deployment of Peshmerga forces to the disputed areas, the President said that all of these areas are now under the control of Peshmerga forces. He added, “The Peshmerga forces are there to protect the people of those areas and they will not be pressured into withdrawing. We will protect these areas and we are also ready to help both Shia and Sunnis to save them from this crisis, but this can only be achieved with new people who believe in co-existence, democracy, and the Constitution. This cannot be done with people who have destroyed the country.”

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Prime Minister Barzani discusses security with delegation from French Foreign Ministry

Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani met yesterday with Jean-François Girault, Director of the Middle East and North Africa Department of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to discuss the current situation in Iraq.

In the meeting, discussions centered on developments after the seizure of Mosul and other areas by the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) terrorist organization, the threat of terrorism, and the consequences of such events, including the displacement of the hundreds of thousands of civilians now being sheltered in the Kurdistan Region and receiving emergency support by the KRG.

Director Girault emphasised that terror is a global issue, and it is therefore the responsibility of the international community to confront it. He added that the issue of terrorism in Iraq cannot be solved through military operations alone but requires a political solution.

Prime Minister Barzani explained that Iraq after the fall of Mosul is very different than it was before, and the current circumstances necessitate an entirely new approach. He reiterated that any solution must be based on the new reality in Iraq. The Prime Minister also pointed to the importance the KRG attaches to its relationship with France, and he thanked Director Girault and his accompanying delegation for their position against terrorism in all forms.

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Deputy Prime Minister convenes Oil and Gas Council to discuss fuel shortages

Deputy Prime Minister Qubad Talabani yesterday chaired a meeting which included several ministers, the KRG Oil and Gas Council, and Kurdistan’s governors to discuss measures to tackle fuel shortages in the Region.

The meeting was designed to identify solutions to overcome the current fuel shortage, considering the current situation in Kurdistan and throughout Iraq and the difficulties facing citizens.

Deputy Prime Minister Talabani highlighted the importance of accelerating the import of commercial gasoline, priced reasonably, and the continued distribution of subsidized gasoline. He also stressed the importance of a workable solution because of the holy month of Ramadan and the current situation in Kurdistan.

It was reiterated that priority would be given to the Kurdistan Region’s security forces currently deployed on the front lines to protect the Region. Their gasoline will be provided through their chief of operations, and the KRG will continue to provide the needed petrol for the forces.

The Minister of Natural Resources explained the decision to price imported gasoline at private sector filling stations at 1,250 Iraqi Dinars per liter and to maintain the price of subsidized gasoline at 500 Iraqi Dinars per liter, with the prices to be reviewed in the coming two months.