Erbil, Kurdistan Region, Iraq (cabinet.gov.krd) – Kurdistan Regional Government Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani yesterday attended the launch ceremony for Erbil Governorate’s Provincial Development Strategy plan, which was held at Erbil’s historic citadel.
In a speech during the ceremony, Prime Minister Barzani said, “The plan shows that the determination of Kurdish people for building a better future and for promoting coexistence and tolerance is stronger than the will of those who try to stop Kurdistan Region’s path to prosperity and growth.”
Following is the text of Prime Minister Barzani’s speech:
Dear distinguished guests,
Please allow me to welcome Ms. Kate Gilmore, United Nations Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ms. Lisa Grande, Deputy Special Representative of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq , Belgian Ambassador, Lebanese embassy’s Charge d’affairs to Iraq, and representatives of foreign countries and international organizations in Kurdistan Region.
I am pleased to be here with you all, in this spring evening .In an important event for Erbil population, for all its components nationalities and religions, for the announcement of 2016-2018 strategic plan for development of Erbil governorate. I hope that the implementation of the strategic development plan will be completed within its timeframe so that Erbil will reach a higher level of prosperity and development, a level that will be in line with the rich history and culture of this ancient city.
The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) had previously announced the 2020 regional development strategy for the Kurdistan Region, It articulates the Kurdistan Regional Government’s vision for the Kurdistan Region development and advancement to 2020. The regional plan was prepared in consultation with international experts and is divided into several stages. The plan that we are announcing today is within the framework of the KRG’s 2020 regional plan.
The government’s plan is very comprehensive; it takes into consideration the priorities of different stages so that we can bring about further development in sectors that are needed most. Although the fight against terror and financial crisis, and their outputs, have hindered the implementation of the plan, but, with the help of our friends in the international community the KRG is determined to continue the implementation of the regional development plan.
Despite all the difficulties facing our region, we are making concerted efforts to further develop Kurdistan and human being in this country. The will and determination of our people to build a better future is stronger than any challenges and difficulties. I hope the same like this announcement ceremony, that is going on right now in Erbil in its scheduled time, to develop similar plans for all cities and governorates of Kurdistan Region.
Right now we are in one of the oldest and most ancient sites in the world. For more than 6,000 years that life goes on here, which makes it the oldest continuously inhabited place in the world. This citadel was the first stage of life commencement in Erbil. The citadel has seen different stages throughout its history; it has been the home of many different religions and civilizations, and a place of religious tolerance and peaceful coexistence.
The city of Erbil and in particular the Citadel of Erbil was a home for numerous civilizations, empires, religions that predated the Abrahamic religions, synagogues, churches, and mosques. All these historical stages, has made the Citadel a very rich center of tolerance and coexistence of different religions and ethnicities in this city
The life style, the urban culture and the culture of tolerance and coexistence went beyond the boundaries of the fortress and had a positive impact on the way of life in the entire city of Erbil, because the citadel was the home of the elite, civilized and educated ones and advanced classes, that is why it has left the impact over the whole city, and the spread out of this culture to every where. This culture was the mystery and the main reason that life never stopped inside the citadel. Its because of this culture the citadel has become the symbol of Erbil locally and internationally.
In addition to being known for its culture of tolerance and coexistence, the decision of UNESCO World Heritage Center in mid 2014 to list Erbil as a world heritage site ,as the one of the global humanitarian landmarks, turned the citadel into a unique regional and middle eastern historical site. That was a great achievement for the people of Kurdistan Region in general and the people of Erbil in particular.
Erbil, as the capital of the Kurdistan Region and as one of the most ancient cities in the world, has a great potential for development. Erbil is a mosaic of different religions and ethnicities and its known for religious tolerance and peaceful coexistence in Kurdistan and Iraq. The developments that Erbil witnessed in different sectors following the fall of the former regime, has turned the city into a regional as well as international hub. Therefore, we need to increase our focus on the implementation of the strategic development plan.
We are fully committed to developing all sectors of life in the Kurdistan Region. We have great objectives and we will continue our efforts to achieve them. At some points, due to some unexpected events that are out of our control we might face difficulties in implementing our plans. However, I would like to seize this opportunity to reassure the people of the Kurdistan Region and our friends that we will continue reconstruction process, nation building ,the advancement and the development of country, life and human being in Kurdistan Region. We will do whatever it takes to provide better services for our people.
The announcement of the strategic plan for development of Erbil governorate during such a difficult time demonstrates that the will and determination of our people for life , progress, building, reconstruction and for promoting tolerance and coexistence is way more stronger than the will of those fond of war, who try relentlessly, to stop our path to prosperity and growth.
A Kurdistan, which was built by the sacrifices of our ancestors from different religious and ethnic groups, is now being protected by the sacrifices of our brave Peshmerga forces, and will never cease its path to development and prosperity.
Please allow me to salute the martyrs of Kurdistan and to express my utmost appreciation for the heroic Peshmerga of Kurdistan who are defending the achievements of Kurdistan, universal values, coexistence, and human and humanity against the most brutal terrorist organization.
I would like to thank the organizers of this event, the UNDP, the European Union, the Governorate of Erbil, and the High Commission for Erbil Citadel Revitalization for the invitation. I appreciate the efforts made by the Ministry of Planning and Minister Ali Sindi on the strategic plan for development of Erbil governorate.
Also special thanks to Governor Mr. Nawzad Hadi for his effective leadership in running the affairs of the Erbil governorate and for playing a crucial role in the development projects of the governorate and all his aides .
Today marks the beginning of a New Year-The Red Wednesday -for our Ezidi sisters and brothers. I would like to congratulate them, to pay respect to all Ezidi martyrs and victims, and to assure them that we are continuing our efforts to free all of our Ezidi brothers and sister who are still in ISIS captivity. We are also making concerted efforts to mobilize international support for the recognition of Ezidi genocide. The Kurdistan Regional Government will do its utmost to rebuild their liberated areas .
Thank you all.