Prime Minister Barzani’s speech at the Middle East Tourism Exhibition

Erbil, Kurdistan Region, Iraq (cabinet.gov.krd) – Kurdistan Region Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani opened the Middle East Tourism Exhibition in Erbil. 

In a speech, he recalled that “if it were not for recent very difficult years, the Kurdistan Region would have developed its tourism infrastructure and services to a much higher level.” He stressed, “To reduce our dependency on oil and gas, we need to advance to a new era of growth and development based on tourism, agriculture, and industrialization. Through this exhibition, I invite private sector entrepreneurs and investors, both foreign and domestic, to come to the Kurdistan Region and invest in tourism sector.”

Bellow is the transcript of Prime Minister Barzani’s speech:

Ladies and gentlemen,

Good morning and welcome to the “Middle East Tourism Exhibition”. I would like to especially welcome the Iraqi Minister of Culture, Tourism, and Antiquities Mr. Abdulamir Al-Hamdani, and the Head of Culture, Tourism, and Antiquities Committee of the Iraqi Council of Representatives.  I also warmly welcome members of the diplomatic corps and other foreign representatives in the Kurdistan Region, Head of the Iraqi Civil Aviation Authority, all companies, investors, and guests attending this year’s exhibition.

I am glad to attend this event and hope the exhibition helps to invigorate tourism in the Kurdistan Region. I want to thank the KRG Minister of Municipalities and Tourism Ms. Nawroz Mawlood and the Ministry for their assistance and support to this event.

I want to thank the organizers of the “Middle East Tourism Expo” and the KRG General Board of Tourism in the Ministry of Municipalities and Tourism headed by Mr. Mawlawi Jabar.

Ladies and gentlemen,

With its many attractive characteristics, the Kurdistan Region intends to become a prime center for tourism in the Middle East.
With its natural beauty, breathtaking scenery, unexplored mountains, rivers, forests, archaeological and historical sites, the Kurdistan Region has great potential for tourism through all four seasons of the year. An important, distinctive feature of the Kurdistan Region is its people with their welcoming attitude and warm hospitality, who have always sought a secure and peaceful life.

I hope holding such an exhibition will encourage entrepreneurs and investors to undertake tourism projects in the Kurdistan Region that will attract over the coming years an increasing number of tourists.  We look forward to this exhibition promoting  a wide range of high quality services that will make the Kurdistan Region a preferred destination for tourists from neighboring areas and throughout the Middle East.

There is little doubt that if it were not for recent very difficult years, the Kurdistan Region would have developed its tourism infrastructure and services to a much higher level.

For development of tourism in the Kurdistan Region, the KRG depends on the private sector for the crucial role it can play.  To reduce our dependency on oil and gas, we need to advance to a new era of growth and development based on tourism, agriculture, and industrialization.

Through this exhibition, I invite private sector entrepreneurs and investors, both foreign and domestic, to come to the Kurdistan Region and invest in tourism sector. The Region’s tourism potentials could be an important source of financial benefit and job creation.
In order to protect and grow its economy beyond its current dependence on oil and gas, the Kurdistan Region should focus on diversification by developing its agricultural, industrial, and tourism potentials.  With tourism as one of the Kurdistan Region’s main priorities, the KRG is ready to fully support and facilitate the implementation of projects by local and foreign entrepreneurs and investors.

We know that rules, regulations, routines and administrative procedures might discourage investment. Today, in this event, I assure you all that the Kurdistan Region through its reform plans will do its best to eliminate these defects and provide more attractive investment opportunities in all sectors.

From its beginning, the policy of the KRG has been to enable the private sector to be an active partner in reconstructing and developing all sectors in the Kurdistan Region. In the next phase, participation of the private sector will be broadened to develop tourism, agriculture, and industry sectors.

Ladies and gentlemen,

With great hope, we look toward further developing our relations with Baghdad. We want to solve all issues in accordance with the Iraqi Constitution. We hope this will encourage entrepreneurs and investors to develop and support projects in the Kurdistan Region from where they can extend their efforts to other parts of Iraq.

During upcoming Newroz festivities, I kindly urge all KRG security forces and other relevant authorities at checkpoints and airports to act in a hospitable and professional manner when they receive thousands of our Iraqi brothers and sisters as well as visitors from other countries, and to provide them with every possible support and facility.

Our culture of tolerance and coexistence should be reflected in the actions and manners of all security forces and relevant authorities at checkpoints and airports. Our Iraqi brothers and sisters who choose to come to the Kurdistan Region are visiting their own country and should never feel that they are visiting another country.

KRG authorities have predicted there will be crowds during this year’s Newroz festivities and I’m sure the security forces will do their best. I kindly request the security forces to help tourists and guests as much as they can.  To protect Kurdistan’s natural environment during their picnics, I call on our citizens and visitors to keep our Region clean.

In the end, I would like to, again, welcome you all. I thank the KRG General Board of Tourism and the “Middle East Tourism Expo” for organizing this exhibition. I hope this exhibition will pave the way for further collaboration as well as signing many contracts for investment projects. I think such events are crucial and should be made annually.

I wish you all success.

Thank you and have a nice day.



Head of DFR, Minister Falah Mustafa to join Diplomatic Corps in the 31st commemoration of chemical attack on Halabja

Erbil, Kurdistan Region, Iraq (dfr.gov.krd) – Head of KRG Department of Foreign Relations, Minister Falah Mustafa along with the head of foreign missions in the Kurdistan Region participated in the commemoration of the 31st anniversary of the chemical attack on Halabja organized by Ministry of Martyrs and Anfal affairs and Halabja governorate.

Head of DFR, Minister Mustafa paid his tribute to the martyrs of Halabja and all the martyrs of Kurdistan liberation struggle and placed a wreath of flower on the memorial of the martyrs. Minister also affirmed to continue the efforts to cover the treatment of the victims of the chemical attack, and delivering more services to the city of Halabja, and with the friends of the people of Kurdistan and the international community to address the Halabja tragedy as Genocide at the international level.

He also stressed and called on Iraqi government for necessity cooperation to compensate Halabja people and victims of the genocide, as well as make the city as a symbol of sacrifices and ideal city in the world.


Kurdistan Regional Government strongly condemns New Zealand attack

Erbil, Kurdistan Region, Iraq (cabinet.gov.krd) – In a statement to the Kurdistan Regional Govrnment website, KRG Spokesperson Safeen Dizayee strongly condemned Friday’s terrorist attack at two mosques in New Zealand that killed and injured dozens of worshippers.

He extended the Kurdistan Regional Government’s condolences to the families and friends of the victims, and expressed solidarity and sympathy with the people and government of New Zealand.

He hoped that the perpetrators of this dreadful crime will receive fair punishment and that such tragedies will not reoccur.


31st anniversary of the Halabja tragedy

16th of March we commemorate 31 anniversary of the darkest day in history for the city of Halabja. On that day the Baathist regime threw chemical bombs at the city of Halabja with the aim of mercilessly exterminating the Kurdish civilian population.
More than 5,000 people, including children and women, have lost their lives in hours. Those who have survived, still live with that physical and psychological pain, that will never be cured.
The Halabja gas attack is a symbol of the genocide committed against the Kurds by the regime. We must do everything possible to ensure that such acts are never repeated. Halabja, we never forget your pain…


Prime Minister Barzani receives U.S. delegation

Erbil, Kurdistan Region, Iraq (cabinet.gov.krd) – Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani received a U.S. delegation led by U.S. Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations, Ms Denise Natali. The delegation included U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Iraq and Iran, Andrew Peek, Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Iraq Joey Hood, U.S. Consul-General to the Kurdistan Region Steven Fagin and a number of advisors and officials.

The delegation praised the role of the Kurdistan Region’s Peshmerga forces in the war against terrorism, and its people and government for hosting, accommodating, and offering assistance to a large number of IDPs and refugees. They also commended the level of tolerance and coexistence among ethno-religious communities in the Kurdistan Region.

They highlighted the success of the political process in Iraq and the progress made towards resolving outstanding issues between the Kurdistan Region and Baghdad.

Prime Minister Barzani thanked the U.S. for its assistance during difficult times. He gave a brief about the war against ISIS and ways to eliminate its extremist ideology, and highlighted the situation of refugees and internally displaced people in the Kurdistan Region.

He reaffirmed the willingness of the Kurdistan Region to resolve issues with Baghdad through talks within the framework of the Constitution of Iraq. He noted improvement in relations between the two sides.

The situation of the region in general, the post ISIS era, and the development of bilateral relations were also discussed.


Prime Minister Barzani receives Jordanian delegation

Erbil, Kurdistan Region, Iraq (cabinet.gov.krd) – Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani received Jordanian Minister of Industry, Trade, and Supply Dr. Tariq al-Hammouri, Jordanian Ambassador to Iraq Montaser Oklah, Consul General of The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan to the Kurdistan Region Haitham Abu Alfoul, and their accompanying delegation.

Minister al-Hammouri highlighted historical relations between the Kurdistan Region and Jordan and expressed willingness to further strengthen and develop these relations, particularly in the fields of trade and banking. He also conveyed the support of His Majesty King Abdullah II of Jordan and his government to the Kurdistan Region.

Prime Minister Barzani thanked His Majesty King Abdullah II for his support to the Kurdistan Region during difficult periods, and expressed the willingness of the Kurdistan Region to strengthen relations with Jordan, particularly in the economic field. He hoped that Jordanian businessmen would take advantage of investment opportunities in the Kurdistan Region.

The post ISIS situation in the region and the crisis of displaced persons in the Kurdistan Region and refugees in Jordan were also discussed.

They also stressed the eradication of terrorism through coordination among the countries of the region and the international community.


Head of DFR meets Deputy National Security Advisor at White House

Washington, DC, USA (us.gov.krd) – Minister Falah Mustafa, Head of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Department of Foreign Relations, met with Deputy National Security Advisor Dr. Charles Kupperman, rounding out a week-long visit to Washington to meet with senior US Administration officials, members of Congress, and business leaders.

Minister Mustafa and KRG Representative to the United States Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman met Dr. Kupperman at the White House on Friday, to discuss a range of pressing issues facing Kurdistan and Iraq.

On the same day, the delegation met with two senior State Department officials, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor Roger Carsten; and Special Advisor for Religious Minorities Knox Thames.

They also traveled to the Pentagon to meet with Kathryn Wheelbarger, the Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs.

Throughout the week, Minister Mustafa and Representative Abdul Rahman met with more than a dozen members of Congress from key committees and other Administration officials