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KRG Minister tells London think tank audience tough decisions lie ahead for Iraq
THU, 19 JAN 2012 01:52
London, UK (uk.krg.org) - Minister Falah Mustafa Bakir, the Head of the Department of Foreign Relations, today met several British members of parliament and peers and spoke at a think tank about the crisis in Iraq and the role of the Kurdish leadership in the political process.
Speaking at an event organised by the Next Century Foundation (NCF), a think-thank that focuses on the Middle East, Minister Bakir said, “It is true that Iraq has faced political problems in the past but this is by far the most serious and dangerous political crisis.” He pointed out that Iraq is not at a stage of democratic maturity to have majority-rule nor is it acceptable to return to one-party or one-man rule. He said the solution to Iraq's crisis lies in the constitution which calls for federalism and power-sharing in partnership.
The meeting, which was attended by diplomats, journalists, analysts and commentators, was chaired by William Morris, secretary-general of NCF who has visited Kurdistan and Iraq several times. Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman, the Kurdistan Regional Government Representative to the UK, also spoke at the meeting, outlining events over the past year that have led to the current situation in Iraq.
Minister Bakir is in the UK for a 10-day visit to brief British officials, MPs, decision-makers and commentators on the situation in Kurdistan Region and Iraq. He attended a conference in London last week highlighting the abuses and crimes against the people of Kurdistan and Iraq committed by the regime of Saddam Hussein, and will attend another conference this week hosted by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
Minister Bakir highlighted the KRG's relations with its neighbouring countries, the UK and other countries and the KRG's programme of international outreach. He reiterated the KRG’s support for the rights of the Kurdish people and democratic change in Syria.
Mr Bakir spoke about the continuing economic boom in Kurdistan and the developments in human rights and the judiciary.
Ms Abdul Rahman, who thanked NCF for hosting the talk by the minister, outlined the economic progress in Kurdistan and the growing trade links with the UK and other countries. “Many international brands are now working and investing in Kurdistan - from Lafarge of France to hotel chains such as the Marriott and oil companies such as Exxon Mobil. While we strive to resolve the problems in Baghdad, we continue to build up our economy.”
Earlier in the day Minister Bakir, who was accompanied by Ms Abdul Rahman, briefed members of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Kurdistan Region as well as other MPs and peers who have a long-held interest in Kurdistan and Iraq. He spoke to the parliamentarians about the political deterioration in Iraq immediately after the US troop-withdrawal which has led President Masoud Barzani to call for a national conference of all Iraqi groups to discuss the way forward.
He told the MPs and peers that the Kurds are committed to a federal and democratic Iraq but will not accept an Iraq in which power-sharing and the constitution are not respected or implemented. All of the parliamentarians who met with the minister have visited Kurdistan and some have visited other parts of Iraq. Mr Bakir met with Lord Ahmed, David Anderson MP, Robert Halfon MP, Lord Hylton, Meg Munn MP, Baroness Nicholson, Nadhim Zahawi MP and Gary Kent who is administrator of the All-Party Group on Kurdistan.
Minister Bakir also visited the Royal College of Defence Studies (RCDS) where he met the Commandant, Vice Admiral Charles Style. The RCDS is the senior college of the Defence Academy of the UK and provides a course in international strategic studies at post-graduate level. Among its students are officials from Kurdistan. The opportunity for Kurdish officials to participate was offered by the British government.
On Monday, Minister Bakir, Sabah Ahmed Mohamed, the KRG Minister of Martyrs and Anfal Affairs who was also in the UK, and Ms Abdul Rahman held a meeting to discuss coordination of the efforts of the Anfal Ministry, the Department of Foreign Relations and the KRG UK Representation on raising international awareness of the genocide of the Kurds. Minister Mohamed, who was in the UK to speak at the Iraqi Human Rights Ministry conference on the crimes of the former regime, outlined his ministry's strategy for international recognition of the genocide which would involve the KRG Representations abroad and the Kurdish Diaspora.
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