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President Nechirvan Barzani receives France’s Minister of the Armed Forces Florence Parly

Erbil, Kurdistan Region, August 27, 2020

Kurdistan Region President Nechirvan Barzani received the French Republic’s Minister of the Armed Forces Ms. Florence Parly and her accompanying delegation in Erbil on Thursday.

The latest developments in Iraq, ways to confront the resurgence of terror activities in the country, including ISIS movements, were discussed at the meeting. Both sides focused on the need for the international coalition’s continued support to confront ISIS and the ongoing coordination and cooperation between the Kurdistan Peshmerga Forces and the Iraqi army in confronting and eradicating terrorism.

President Nechirvan Barzani expressed gratitude for the effective role that France played in defeating ISIS and highlighted the role of the French forces in the Kurdistan Region, particularly in areas of training and capacity-building of the Peshmerga forces in addition to cooperation in areas of security and intelligence in the fight against terrorism. The President also expressed appreciation to France for all its political and humanitarian support to the Kurdistan Region; especially the assistance it extended to the refugees and the displaced people hosted by the Kurdistan Region.

On her part, the French Republic’s Minister of the Armed Forces Florence Parly conveyed the appreciation and gratitude of the government of France for the leading role of the Kurdistan Region and its Peshmerga Forces in defeating ISIS, hosting refugees and displaced people and preserving and protecting ethnic and religious communities in Kurdistan Region. Minister Parly reiterated her country’s continued support to the Kurdistan Region.

At the meeting, which was also attended by the Kurdistan Region Vice Presidents, France’s Ambassador to Iraq and a number of diplomats and advisors, both sides discussed Erbil-Baghdad relations, the ongoing negotiations aimed at finding solutions to the pending issues between both sides, Covid-19 pandemic and its impacts on Iraq and the Kurdistan Region and ways for France to offer assistance.

Talks also covered bilateral relations between France and the Kurdistan Region, the current situation in Iraq and the importance of power-sharing among all parties in the country’s political process. The President and the Minister of the Armed Forces also talked about the ongoing Iraq-US strategic dialogue and the participation of the Kurdistan Region in the dialogue, the Kurdistan Region’s relations with the neighboring countries, the latest developments in the wider region, the importance of cooperation and joint effort in preserving stability and peace in the Middle East and other issue of bilateral interest.

Following their meeting, President Nechirvan Barzani and Minister Florence Parly held a joint press conference:

Commenting on their meeting, President Nechirvan Barzani said: “We are pleased to welcome the French Republic’s Minister of the Armed Forces Ms. Florence Parly. Her visit comes at a crucial time; as Iraq and the Kurdistan Region still need the support of the international coalition in the fight against ISIS, as well as political and economic support. France is an important member of the international coalition in fighting and defeating terrorism. It has provided extensive support to Iraq and the Kurdistan Region. We value and appreciate this visit at this important juncture, which demonstrates France’s continued support to the Kurdistan Region.”

The President also said that: “France has stood by the Kurdistan Region during many difficult periods. We have historic bilateral relations. At the time of the Anfal genocidal campaigns of 1988, as well as during the uprising of the 1991 in the Kurdistan Region and during the liberation of Iraq and afterwards, France has always been a close friend of the Kurdistan Region. The people of the Kurdistan Region will never forget the support and assistance provided by France.”

The President added: “I would like to express my appreciation and thank President Emmanuel Macron for his stance and role during the difficulties faced by the Kurdistan Region in the fall of 2017. He took the initiative and broke the political and diplomatic embargo that were imposed on the Kurdistan Region. France helped de-escalate tensions and restarted talks with the federal government of Iraq.”

The president also said: “During the war against ISIS, in addition to military support and security cooperation, France provided humanitarian assistance to the refugees and the displaced people in the Kurdistan Region who were of different ethnic and religious backgrounds, particularly our Christians and Yezidi sisters and brothers. France also opened its doors to them and welcomed many of them.”

The President also stated: “the Kurdistan Region looks forward to strengthening ties with France in all sectors. The Kurdistan Region welcomes French investors and companies to participate in developing its infrastructure. There are plenty of opportunities to expand bilateral relations in the political, security, academic and cultural sectors.”

The President extended his warmest regards to Ms. Parly and every French soldier stationed in the Kurdistan Region and said: “We thank them for their role in defeating ISIS. We also thank the Ambassador of France to Iraq and France’s Consul General in Erbil for their role in strengthening our bilateral ties. We also thank France for its support in confronting and containing the Covid-19 pandemic in the Kurdistan Region.”Once again, I welcome Ms. Parly. Thank you.

On her part, the French Republic’s Minister of the Armed Forces Ms. Florence Parly thanked His Excellency the President of the Kurdistan Region Nechirvan Barzani for the warm welcome and reception.

In her remarks she said: “Following my visit to Baghdad, I am visiting the Kurdistan Region to express the support of France to Iraq and the Kurdistan Region, which are facing great challenges in health and other fields”.

Ms. Parly added: “Mr. President, we are standing by you at this difficult time. We are with you in the fight against our common enemy, ISIS. In the war against ISIS, the role of the Peshmerga is important and France is proud to fight this war together with the Peshmerga, a war that has been going on for six years. It’s a difficult and complicated war, but it is an important one that must go on. We are committed to continue the war against ISIS together with you and within the international coalition. We have discussed this issue with Iraqi officials, General White and the Iraqi Defense Minister.”

Ms. Parly concluded: “Finally, I want to emphasize that we view the stability in the Middle East with concern. We reiterated to President Nechirvan Barzani that we will continue our support and will expand it. It is also imperative that Iraq’s sovereignty be preserved and external interferences and tensions come to end. There must be talks and dialogues among the regional countries in this regard and I think that President Nechirvan Barzani is working towards this objective. We can defeat ISIS together. Thank you.

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Council of Ministers meets to discuss Erbil-Baghdad relations

Erbil, Kurdistan Region, Iraq (GOV.KRD) – Prime Minister Masrour Barzani on Monday chaired a meeting via videoconference to discuss ongoing disputes with the federal government.

In the meeting attended by Deputy Prime Minister Qubad Talabani, Prime Minister Barzani spoke about recent discussions between Baghdad and Erbil, and reiterated the government’s willingness for a solution within the framework of the Iraqi constitution. In that regard, the Cabinet agreed for the government’s high-level delegation headed by Deputy Prime Minister Talabani to return to Baghdad on Tuesday.

The Prime Minister stressed readiness to resolve outstanding differences, and reiterated his cabinet’s commitment to fulfill its obligations in return for Kurdistan Region’s constitutional and financial entitlements.

Prime Minister Barzani emphasised the importance of a comprehensive solution that clearly stipulates the duties and rights of both sides, and serves the interests of both.

The Prime Minister noted that such solution serves the interests of all Iraqi peoples, and will be an important factor for the stability of the region.

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President Nechirvan Barzani: It is time to come to a mutual understanding and settle differences

Baghdad, Iraq, June 21, 2020

During President Nechirvan Barzani’s meetings with Iraq’s President, Prime Minister, Parliament Speaker and senior political leaders in Baghdad. President Nechirvan Barzani described the current issues facing Iraq as shared difficulties and mutual responsibilities for all Iraqis. The President stated: “We share the same fate, the problems of Iraq and the Kurdistan Region are the problems of all Iraqis”.

President Barzani expressed the importance of moving forward from the difficult experiences of the past years, which were marked by deadlocks and disagreements between both sides. “It is time we come to a mutual understanding through an inclusive agreement which is accepted by both sides, and ensures stability, peace, and justice.We must resolve all differences once and for all”, he added.

The President described the current circumstances and challenges as: “crises that can be turned into opportunities for cooperation and confronting the hardships and issues facing the country”. He added that tackling these issues are mutual responsibilities of all parties and that the continuation of these issues is in the interest of no one. President Barzani emphasized that we can come to a mutual understanding through joint efforts and lead the country in a direction towards better services for all citizens.

President Nechirvan Barzani reiterated that the Kurdistan Region is willing to resolve all pending issues with the federal government on the basis of the constitution of Iraq and in accordance with the federal system, rights and duties. As well as, priority be given to finding solutions that improve the living conditions of all citizens. The President expressed his appreciation to the leaders and political parties of Iraq for supporting dialogue aimed at achieving mutual agreements. He described the support as an important duty of all political parties in the country.

In return, Iraq’s leaders and political parties viewed President Nechirvan Barzani’s visit to Baghdad as a positive indication and the right step taken by the Kurdistan Region vis-à-vis Baghdad. They also expressed appreciation to the Kurdistan region for its willingness to resolve pending issues and reach an agreement with the federal government.

On the second day of his visit to Baghdad, Sunday June 21st, President Nechirvan Barzani, accompanied by Kurdistan Region Vice Presidents, held separate meetings with Mr. Ammar Al- Hakeem, leader of Iraq’s National Wisdom Movement, Mr. Hadi Al-Amiri, Head of the Fatah Alliance, Mr. Nuri Al-Maliki, head of the State of the Law Coalition and members of the leadership of Al-Sadr Movement. President Nechirvan Barzani also met with Iraq’s Prime Minister, President, Parliament Speaker and the Special representative of the UN Secretary General for Iraq.

The meetings focused on the relations between the Kurdistan Region and the federal government of Iraq and efforts to resolve the pending differences between both sides. The current state of affairs in the country, the newly formed federal government, the economic crisis and the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic were also discussed. The meetings also focused on the threats posed by the resurgence of ISIS terrorists and their recent movements and attacks, the importance of cooperation and coordination between Peshmerga and Iraqi army, the continuation of Global Coalition’s support, the role of the United Nations in Iraq, protecting the borders and sovereignty of Iraq, improving ties with neighboring countries and the international community based on mutual respect and interests.

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Kurdistan Region President extends condolences to the Yezidi Community

Erbil, Kurdistan Region, June 15, 2020

In a phone call, on Monday, Kurdistan Region President Nechirvan Barzani offered his condolences to Mir Hazim Tahsin Beg, the spiritual leader of the Yezidis, on the death of his cousin Kamiran Khairi Beg, a prominent Yezidi leader.
President Nechirvan Barzani expressed sadness and sympathy to the Yezidi community and the family of the late leader.
Mir Hazim Tahsin Beg thanked the President and expressed his and his family’s appreciation for the phone call and condolences.

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Prime Minister chairs meeting on customs, revenue reforms

Erbil, Kurdistan Region, Iraq (GOV.KRD) – Prime Minister Masrour Barzani chaired a meeting via video conference on Monday on the state of Kurdistan Region’s customs, border crossings, and companies providing service.

In the meeting attended by Deputy Prime Minister Qubad Talabani and other ministers, the Prime Minister reaffirmed ongoing efforts to carry out financial reforms; organise trade, and review tax exemptions at all border crossings.

The meeting reviewed assessments from committees tasked with these areas as part of the reform agenda. The committee, headed by the Ministers of Interior and Finance, presented a detailed report on service contracts and challenges at the border crossings.

During the meeting, the Prime Minister underscored the cabinet’s priority to bring more certainty to the use of public wealth. He also noted the important role of the private sector and the need to promote local produce.

The meeting called for border crossings to be organised in accordance with international standards; stop illegal tax exemptions, and a review of all of service contracts.

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Prime Minister Masrour Barzani chairs meeting on developing private sector, tax system

Erbil, Kurdistan Region, Iraq (GOV.KRD) – Prime Minister Masrour Barzani on Sunday chaired a cabinet meeting via video conference to discuss ways to further develop the private sector and improve the tax system.

In the meeting, Prime Minister Barzani spoke about the importance of the private sector in the job market and the necessity to review current laws to pave the way for more development in this sector.

Minister of Planning Dara Rashid presented a report on the challenges and opportunities in the private sector, encouraging people to work in this sector. The meeting also highlighted the importance of Public-Private Partnership to develop and support the private sector. The partnership scheme is due to be submitted to the Council of Ministers for approval.

They also spoke about the importance of reviewing the tax system, which is a key part of this cabinet’s agenda to carry out reforms in revenue and expenses.

The Secretary of the Council of Ministers, Amanj Rahim, presented a report on the current tax system, shedding light on the challenges and opportunities facing the system, especially in the sectors of energy, commination networks and residential projects.

Following an exchange of views, they decided to revise the tax system in a way that favors the public interest and contributes to public wealth. This is part of the government’s strategy to diversify revenue sources and reorganise non-oil revenues, as well as its strategy to revise the government’s tax exemption scheme and reorganise legal accountancy to prevent tax evasion.

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Prime Minister Masrour Barzani chairs meeting on combating new wave of Covid_19

Erbil, Kurdistan Region, Iraq (GOV.KRD) – Prime Minister Masrour Barzani on Wednesday chaired a meeting with the government’s high-level committee on the coronavirus outbreak via video conference.

In the meeting attended by Deputy Prime Minister Qubad Talabani, the Minister of Health presented a detailed report on the increasing number of infections and fatalities in the Kurdistan Region due to a recent surge in Covid_19 cases. The Minister of Interior then presented a report on government measures to enforce compliance with the government’s health advice.

Following an exchange of views on how to curb the spread of the disease, the government’s committee on coronavirus made the following decisions:

First: The government’s public health guidance will continue, including quarantine and delivering services to the infected, contacts and tourists. The campaign to spread awareness on the disease and health advice will intensify too.

Second: The committee also decided to make wearing a mask mandatory in public places and institutions. There will be a supply of masks at government institutions for people visiting these places. Violators will be held accountable to the law.

Third: The government will allocate an additional 5 billion Iraqi dinars to fight the pandemic. Health institutions in all provinces and counties can benefit from these funds.

Fourth: The government will facilitate the production of masks and other equipment to ensure high quality and affordable pricing.

Fifth: The Ministry of Health is permitted to expand laboratory services and set necessary mechanisms to diagnose and identify virus patients Ministry teams will continue contact tracing and tracking suspect cases.

Sixth: The Ministries of Health and Interior along with the Department of Foreign Relations were assigned to contact and visit relevant departments in the Iraqi government and the World Health Organization (WHO) in Iraq and the Kurdistan Region as well as consulates and international organisations to seek assistance for the fight against the virus.

Seventh: The travel ban between provinces in the Kurdistan Region and between the Kurdistan Region and Iraqi cities will continue, and measures to protect from the virus will toughen amid a recent surge in infections. The Ministries of Peshmerga Affairs and Interior were also assigned to schedule reporting to duty hours in a way to minimise travel and contact, especially for those who commute from other cities to work. The same will apply to employees of other departments, who have to commute to work.

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Prime Minister Masrour Barzani discusses government reformsand ISIS threat with coalition delegation

Erbil, Kurdistan Region, Iraq (GOV.KRD) – Prime Minister Masrour Barzani on Tuesday met with a delegation from the Global Coalition to discuss the reforms process and the continued threat from ISIS.

The delegation led by Major General Gerald Strickland, Deputy Commander of Coalition Force’s Joint Operation for Stability in Iraq and Syria.

In the meeting attended by US Consul General in Erbil Steven Fagin, both sides highlighted the importance of coordination between Peshmerga forces, Coalition and Iraqi security forces to defeat ISIS.

Prime Minister Barzani briefed Major General Strickland on the KRG’s commitment to the reform process, including at the Ministry of Peshmerga Affairs.

On relations with Baghdad, the Prime Minister stressed that the root cause of ongoing disputes with the federal government should be resolved in a way that is fair and within the framework of the Iraqi constitution.

Major General Strickland emphasised the importance of continued coalition aid and training for Peshmerga

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Kurdistan Region President receives U.S. Ambassador to Iraq

Erbil, Kurdistan Region, June 2, 2020

Kurdistan Region President Nechirvan Barzani received the U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Matthew Tueller on Tuesday.

The latest developments in Iraq, the fight against COVID-19 pandemic and its economic consequences, the recent ISIS movements and its terror threats were discussed at the meeting. The meeting was also attended by the U.S. Consul General in Erbil, Steven Fagin.

The two sides also discussed the ongoing efforts to fill the vacant ministerial posts in the newly formed cabinet of Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi since taking office in May. The upcoming Iraq-U.S. strategic dialogue on bilateral relations, which is set to take place next month, was also highlighted.

President Nechirvan Barzani reiterated the support of the Kurdistan Region for Mr. Kadhimi’s government. The president also expressed the importance to fill the vacant ministerial posts in the nearest future and the new cabinets vital role to take decisive actions in addressing the economic, political and security challenges and containing the COVID-19 pandemic.

Both sides stressed the importance of the Iraq-U.S. strategic dialogue, which will serve as a roadmap for the future bilateral ties between the two countries. It was underlined that Iraq needs to specify its interests and priorities.

The support from the U.S. to Iraq and the Kurdistan Region to overcome the current difficulties was also highlighted as well as the continued support from the global coalition in the fight against terrorism.

They also discussed the latest developments in the Kurdistan Region, the importance of cooperation among all political parties to overcome the current situation and the role of the Kurdistan Region Presidency in this regard. The importance of encouraging the private sector in Iraq and the Kurdistan Region were also highlighted in the meeting.

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Kurdistan Region President’s statement on the anniversary of PUK foundation

Erbil, Kurdistan Region, May 31, 2020

Kurdistan Region President Nechirvan Barzani sent a congratulatory message to the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan on the 45th anniversary of the party’s foundation. Below is the message:

Dear Co-leaders, Members of the Supreme Political Council and the Politburo of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK).

On the 45th anniversary of the PUK’s foundation, I congratulate the PUK leadership, all party members and supporters and I wish you all the success.

The PUK is an important part of Kurdistan’s liberation movement. Together with the Kurdistan Democratic Party and other political parties, the PUK has been a main force behind attaining the current achievements, the establishment of the Kurdistan Region’s institutions and securing the rights of the people of Kurdistan in the constitution of Iraq.

Similar to Iraq and the wider region, the Kurdistan Region is currently facing challenges and unforeseen conditions. These circumstances, more than ever, require unity, cooperation and consensus among us. It is the only way to safeguard our achievements. In the past, the cooperation and coordination between the late President Jalal Talabani, whom we pay tribute to today, and President Masoud Barzani led to great successes.

The Kurdistan Region Presidency will continue to work with all political parties to achieve political stability and unity, overcome current difficulties, preserve the constitutional entity of the Kurdistan Region and the rights of its people. It also expects Kurdistani patriotic stances from them as well.

As we mark this day, we salute the fallen heroes of the PUK and all the martyrs of Kurdistan who sacrificed their lives for the freedom of their people. We honor and pay tribute to them and salute their families.

Nechirvan Barzani
Kurdistan Region President