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We Share the Same Values as the West: PM Barzani

The Kurdistan Region sees itself as a reliable ally of the West, and it shares the same values, including human rights, women’s rights, democracy etc, said Prime Minister Masrour Barzani.

“We have always seen ourselves as allies of the US and other western nations. We share the same values, including human rights and women’s rights. We have been involved in the Global Coalition against ISIS [Islamic State]. We hope our allies see us as equals,” the Kurdish prime minister said at the Middle Ease Peace and Stability Forum 2019 held at the American University of Kurdistan, Duhok.

Discussing the latest developments in the Middle East, with Iraq, Iran, with Syria in focus, Barzani said that he does not believe US disengagement could help the crisis in the region, and it, as he said, would probably not help Washington’s interests as well.

However, he said, US must accept that Iraq is a different country on which a duplicated policy cannot work.

In Iraq people are divided between sects, that is, they connect themselves with a specific religious or ethnic group before seeing themselves as Iraqis, according to Barzani.

While Iraq is engulfed by a weeks-long violent anti-government protests, the Kurdish prime minister emphasized that Erbil supports the protesters’ legitimate call for a better life, but he believes the current government of Prime Minister Adil Abdul Mahdi is not solely responsible for the crisis in the country. The crisis, according to Barzani, were accumulated throughout successive administrations in Iraq after 2003.

“There should be an opportunity given to the Iraqi government to bring about reforms. This opportunity was given once [when the government was formed], and there should be a timeframe for reforms now.”

Moreover, Barzani reasserted that the root causes of the current problems should be addressed so to prevent the same issues from re-emerging. “In Iraq, everyone looks at the symptoms and not looking at the root causes of the problems to resolve them,” he added.

Concerning the war against Islamic State, the Kurdish leader believes that the terrorist organization is not yet fully defeated. He said that only the so-called Caliphate was defeated while the ideology is still there to threaten the entire region and beyond.

“We will fight terrorism whether we have allies or not,” the PM reiterated Kurdistan’s commitment to the cause.

PM Barzani then shed light on his cabinet’s vision for the future of Kurdistan Region, noting that building a strong Kurdistan was on top of his agenda, for which crucial steps have been taken.

Kurdistan is looking for better relations with Baghdad, better diplomatic engagement with the world, and better security for the region, attracting more foreign investments and providing better opportunities to local investors, creating jobs and services while fighting corruption, all in hopes of a stronger Kurdistan, according to Barzani. Source