After concluding his participation at the 59th Session of the Munich Security Conference, President Nechirvan Barzani spoke to reporters about his visit and meetings in Germany. The following is a readout of the President’s comments:
“These conferences, whether in Munich, Davos or others, are an opportunity for the Kurdistan Region to convey its views to its partners in the international community in a natural way and without much protocol. We held a number of meetings at this conference, the meetings were more related to our situation and more to highlight our relations with Baghdad, which was the main topic of all the meetings. The international community wants to help resolve the issues between Erbil and Baghdad, because they believe, and rightly so, it is very important to have political stability in the country and by resolving the issues between the Kurdistan Region and Baghdad, political stability will be better enforced. That is true and we have reaffirmed to all our partners that the Kurdistan Region supports the Prime Minister and his new government. The Kurdistan Region wants to resolve its issues with Baghdad in accordance with the Iraqi constitution. We hope that Baghdad will have the same opinion and make a serious effort to resolve the issues.
Regarding the war in Ukraine, the President said: “In this context, the issue of energy is an important issue for these countries and of course Iraq in general, and the Kurdistan Region in Iraq. This was another topic that we discussed in our meetings. I also mentioned that these meetings are an opportunity to meet these delegations closely and speak to them for a short time. They still consider the issue of terrorism and the threat of ISIS as a serious threat, which is also our opinion that we do not believe that ISIS is completely defeated, but it can still be a serious threat to destabilize Iraq. Of course, their other question and the encouragement of all the delegations that we saw is that the Kurds must be united and should resolve their problems within themselves so that they can be a strong faction to resolve all the problems they have with Baghdad. We emphasized that it is true that there are problems and they cannot be denied, but the problems are not so serious that we cannot solve them. That was a brief summary of our meetings.
Regarding the issues of security, terrorism and energy, the President said: “The issue of security and terrorism is a common issue for all of us. There is a threat of terrorism in Iraq, the Kurdistan Region and Western countries. Of course, we have broad experience with the West and the United States, and in these meetings with both the Americans and the Europeans, we thanked them for their continued support helping us in this issue and confronting the threat of terrorism in both Iraq and the West. They understand that this issue is not over and we expressed our readiness to continue to cooperate and explained to them what role the Peshmerga has played since 2014, what role our security forces have played, what role our people have played in defeating terrorism. And of course, we will continue this path.
Regarding the elections, the President said: “Unfortunately, we should have held elections last year, but for a number of reasons they have not been held yet. We hope to hold elections this year. The Kurdistan Region Presidency will start meetings with Kurdistan’s political forces and parties and the issue of elections will be the main issue with both political parties and other communities. Therefore, I hope that all political parties in the Kurdistan Region will take this issue seriously. After that, we are committed to certain times and dates that I as the president of the Kurdistan Region must set a date for the elections, elections must be held, very unfortunately, not held yet, and not holding elections questions the entire political process and legitimacy of the Kurdistan Region. Therefore, I hope that all political parties in the Kurdistan Region take this issue seriously. For me, as the president of the Kurdistan Region, who has this legal responsibility, I will do what is necessary and according to the presidency law.’’
Regarding his meeting with the Iraqi Prime Minister in Munich and the resolution of the issues between Erbil and Baghdad, the President said: “We met with the Iraqi Prime Minister here and agreed that these issues should be resolved as soon as possible. The Kurdistan regional Government delegation was in Baghdad last week. As I mentioned, we are serious about resolving these issues with Baghdad. Solution within the framework of the Iraqi constitution. I hope they will be resolved and we have no other choice. This government was formed as a result of a partnership between the Kurds, Shiites and Sunnis. We have signed the agreement. If the other parties do not abide by the agreement, then there is no point in us as Kurds remaining in the government and I think they understand that. What we are demanding is a written agreement. We have written and identified a roadmap to solve all these problems, and we hope that it will be implemented. The difference between the current government and other governments is that for the first time we have something in writing and in this document we have a roadmap on how to solve the problems. To implement this agreement. Of course, it is still too early. The Prime Minister has been in office for four months. We are optimistic and want these issues to be resolved through dialogue and within the framework of the Iraqi constitution.
Regarding the anticipated meeting between the Kurdistan Democratic Party and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, the President said: “As I mentioned, there are problems between the PUK and the PDK, but not all of them have caused a lot of concern. I don’t want to underestimate the problems. Things are not all right, because there are problems, but the question is whether we have reached a point where it is a very big threat to the Kurdistan Region? The answer is no, I think. We cannot do anything for the Kurdistan Region without unity. All political forces must know this and accept each other. It is true that we have differences and different parties, but in the end we have a country, this country and this nation will remain. The interests of the citizens and the Kurdistan Region must be above everything else. I believe that meeting will be held soon.”
Regarding the relations between the Kurdistan Region and Qatar and the future joint projects between the two sides, the President said: “Our relations with Arab countries are friendly and brotherly, the same is true with Qatar. We have visited Qatar and Kurdistan Region Prime Minister has also visited Qatar, which is important for us as the Kurdistan Region to develop our relations with Arab countries. We are now looking with Qatar to see what economic areas they can help in Iraq and the Kurdistan Region. This is what we discussed with Qatar’s Foreign Minister. We have very good bilateral relations and they will open their consulate in Erbil soon with the assistance of Baghdad, which is a sign of the progress of bilateral relations between the Kurdistan Region and Qatar.”