Abridged speech by APPG Chair Jack Lopresti MP to KRG Newroz Reception at the Commons on 20 March 2024

Spring and the new year bring hope for better times ahead after the dark month of winter.

There have been about 32 of these during the existence of the modern Kurdistan Region. It is great to see how it has become a key moment for Kurds and their friends across the world.

The APPG has been active for 17 of those new years and I am pleased, as the freshly re-elected Chair, to report that we have been able to make a good contribution to support for the Kurdistan Region as our
friends and allies.

We have done this through debates that persuaded the Commons to formally recognise the Anfal Genocide, promote an official trade mission, and to drive the bilateral relationship between our countries.

We have been proud to support a determined effort to make Kurdistan safe for all religions including in its parliament. We have been privileged to have the Kurds as our friend and ally.

We have been able to see the ebbs and flows of the modern Kurdistan Region over many years and have been seen by ministers, Kurds, and others as an asset for the bilateral relationship which is not just about governments but about people.

Much of what we have seen has been very positive. But things are not so good now as Iran and its allies seek to punish Iraqi Kurdistan for its shared values with the West.

I hope that parliamentarians will be able to explore these issues in detail on a possible new fact-finding visit in the near future.

I take comfort from the attendance here and promise that we will do all we can to uphold a strong Kurdistan within Iraq. The region is officially recognised in the constitution of Iraq and that should be the guiding star. Iraqi Kurds are too big to ignore as a dynamo of progress.

We all know the sad saying that the Kurds have no friends but the mountains. I say that the APPG and other British groups are doing all they can to disprove this and to help ensure there are many more positive New Years for the people of Iraqi Kurdistan.

As we so often say when we are there Ba Broin, or let’s get on with it.

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