KRG High Representative responds to the APPG report

Remarks by Karwan Jamal Tahir at the launch on 19 April 2016 in the Commons of the APPG Report on its delegation to the Kurdistan Region

The title of the report is most appropriate. The Kurdistan Region is indeed “The Land Between Two Anniversaries”

In the 100 years since the Sykes Picot agreement, we spent most of it living under suppression, denial, genocide and ethnic cleansing through the Anfal campaign but we have only enjoyed 25 years of freedom and democracy.

Thanks to Britain, which initiated the no-fly-zone in 1991, we had the opportunity to establish our democratic institutions and build prosperity in our Region.

I arrived in the UK to assume the position of KRG High Representative in June 2015 which coincided with reforming the APPG for the Kurdistan Region after the general election and the arrival of a new Parliament.

I had good relations with the previous APPG, its co-Chairs and members during my time as Deputy Head of the DFR. I have always valued and appreciated their support for the Kurdistan Region and its people. Since the new APPG was established, I have been working with them closely and I had an honour and privilege to accompany them to Kurdistan in November last year. They saw how the Kurdistan Region faces many tough and difficult challenges:

• War with Isis terrorism
• Humanitarian crisis
• Financial crisis

However, I am glad to say that Britain is among the few countries who have responded to the KRG’s urgent needs, thanks to the APPG, and British airstrikes in supporting Peshmerga, which saved the Kurdistan Region and its people one more time after 1991 and 2003.

Humanitarian issues

Again Britain is one of the significant donors in supporting the KRG in confronting the crisis. We are grateful but need more to save the Kurdistan Region. The APPG delegation to the Kurdistan Region in November last year witnessed our military, humanitarian and economic needs.

• It is important for us that the International Community to realise and appreciate that we are holding a massive frontline with ISIS, and we continue to hold this line.
• We are hosting 1.8 million refugee and IDPs
• At the same time we facing fiscal and economic challenges.

The report published by APPG recognises all these facts. We welcome the report and its recommendations, including:

• Supplying rounds for the gifted heavy machine guns.
• Providing mobile medical units.
• To continue and increase expertise in demining and IED.
• Urgent financial support to Peshmerga to sustain the fight with ISIS.
• The KRG to be seen as an essential part of the international coalition in fighting ISIS, and to be part of the international talks in counter-terror conferences and meetings.

The members of APPG delegation have witnessed the scale of the humanitarian crisis, met with the IDPs and heard their stories. The KRG is under huge pressure and needs to be rescued by providing more especially economically as we see it as a real threat to the KRG today.

There are clear fears that a prolonged crisis would undermine the KRG’s capacities.

In the end, I would like to say something about the referendum. There might be referendum at the end of this year or the next year, we need your support and understanding in this regard.
We accept the fact that stated at Foreign Affairs Committee report of January 2015: “If the Kurdistan Region is become independent, it should be with the consent of the rest of Iraq.”

That is what we are doing, seeking consent with the Federal Government, and creating mutual understanding.

In fact, we have opened this discussion with the Federal Government at the last visit took place two weeks ago led by the PM. We all desire the unity of Iraq, but if that doesn’t work, we have to find another way of living together peacefully.

It is in all our interests that Kurdistan Region defeat ISIS and overcome the financial challenges, so help us more and more.

Thank you.

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