Prime Minister Barzani speaks on current situation in Kurdistan Region

Erbil, Kurdistan Region, Iraq ( – On the sideline of the consecration ceremony of His Holiness Patriarch Gawergis Sliwa, the new Patriarch of the Assyrian Church of the East, Kurdistan Region Prime Minister, Nechirvan Barzani responded to questions from journalists pertaining to the current situation.

Prime Minister Barzani described the return of the Chair of the Patriarch of Assyrian Church of the East to Erbil, after eighty years, as a significant and historic event for the Kurdistan Region. This is, he said, due to peaceful coexistence among all religious and ethnic communities, which prevails in the Region. He said, “The return of the Chair of the Patriarch of Assyrian Church of the East to Erbil is an important start and an honour for the Kurdistan Region.”

Regarding the issue of displaced people, Prime Minister Barzani said, “Around 1.7 million refugees and IDPs have been accommodated in the Region. The Kurdistan Regional Government has done and will do whatever it can to assist them, despite the fact that the Region faces a very difficult financial situation.”

Commenting on the oil issue, Prime Minister Barzani said, “the sole route of exporting the Kurdistan Region’s oil to the international market is through Turkey, and if the pipeline is sabotaged or damaged, it would cause significant losses for the Region.” He called upon those responsible to cease their destructive actions, saying the pipeline is the main source of the Kurdistan Region’s livelihood. Prime Minister Barzani reaffirmed that in the meetings with Turkish officials, the KRG has asked for further security tightening of the Kurdistan-Ceyhan pipeline.

On the Kurdistan Region Presidency issue, Prime Minister Barzani said, “The message of Kurdistan Region President Masoud Barzani was clear, and all sides must work to reach an agreement over the issue.”

Answering a question about the four parties’ proposal to elect the Region’s President either by the parliament or by the people’s direct vote, Prime Minister Barzani said that the proposal is not coherent, as the parties suggest that the president, when elected by the people’s direct vote, must hold less power than when he is elected by the parliament, while it should be the opposite.

Prime Minister Barzani said that the issue of the Kurdistan Region presidency is not related to President Masoud Barzani and “in his latest message he urged the political sides to reach a realistic solution which is in the interest of the Kurdistan people.”

He expressed his hope that political parties will adopt a realistic approach and that the next meeting on 6 October 2015 will bring a resolution in the interest of the people of the Kurdistan Region.

Regarding institutional reforms, Prime Minister Barzani said that since the formation of the eighth cabinet, the KRG has undertaken reform tasks at KRG ministries and institutions. He reiterated that reform efforts must continue.

He also shed light on the possible liberation of Mosul, saying that “liberation of Mosul is very important for the security of the Kurdistan Region, but until now there is no serious plan.  When such a plan is ready, the Kurdistan Region will decide to engage its Peshmerga forces or not.”

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