Tag Archives: Kurdistan

Borrell visits Kurdistan

Brussels 07.09.2021 “…It would be impossible to visit Iraq without paying strong attention to the Kurdistan region” the EU top diplomat Josep Borrell said, during his meeting with the President of the Kurdistan region of Iraq Nechirvan Barzani.

“We have had a very productive discussion about many issues of mutual interest. The President has referred to them and I am most grateful, President, for the great insights that we have had during our discussion.

“We know that the region has witnessed difficult times. Difficult times in the past and many challenges remain. I am here to express, on behalf of the European Union, our solidarity and support. The European Union is and will be still more a friend and a partner.


“In these difficult times, the Kurdistan Region plays a crucial role in ensuring stability in Iraq and in the wider region. We, therefore, attach high importance to the relations between the leadership in Erbil and the Federal authorities in Baghdad.

“We understand the difficulties and encourage all efforts to resolve existing differences and ensure good cooperation. And we are ready also to try to help on that.

“In my discussion with the President I had the opportunity to acknowledge and commend the important contribution by the Kurdistan Regional Government in the efforts of the Global Coalition against Da’esh.

“The important contribution of the Kurdistan people in terms of casualties suffered and the courage of your soldiers have been decisive in the fight against Da’esh.

“We, in the European Union, remain firmly committed to this Global Coalition, to continue working with partners, as the job to end Da’esh is unfortunately not finished given the repeated attacks in the recent times.

“In this context, I am pleased to announce that this summer we have expanded our European Union Advisory Mission in Iraq (EUAM) by opening a permanent presence here in Erbil. Our team is ready to provide advice and expertise on civilian security sector reform to the Kurdistan Regional Government, President. Talks have already started in the areas in which our support can be useful for you.

“I also commended the Kurdistan Region of Iraq for the momentous generosity and responsibility you have shown giving refuge to so many persons internally displaced by Da’esh, among them many Christians and Yazidis. The figures, President, are impressive. You were able to receive in six months two million refugees, which represents one third of your population. I do not think there is another example of such a big effort receiving people and helping them. I know how much money and efforts it has cost and I have to praise you and the Kurdistan society for this extreme effort of solidarity. We tried to support you as much as we can. Since 2019, about 240,000 people in Iraq have benefitted from European Union management services in their camps. And we also support projects aiming to improve relationship between Internally Displaced Persons and local communities.

“We also had the opportunity to talk and to exchange on regional issues of mutual interest and concern. This Region is located in a very complicated neighborhood. In that context, and bearing also in mind recent developments – I am thinking of Afghanistan – we discussed the migration file, very important for us and for all Member States of the European Union”.

Nadia Murad: from ISIS slave to Nobel prize winner

Iraqi Nadia Murad, the winner of the Sakharov Prize 2016 of the European Parliament shared with Congolese Denis Mukwege the Nobel Peace Prize for their efforts to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon in war.

The courage and resilience of Denis Mukwege and Nadia Murad, in their fight for common human values, deserve the . Proud that the European Parliament’s Sakharov Prize has already saluted their extraordinary humanitarian work” wrote the Antonio Tajani, the president of the European Parliament in his microblog.

Captured by soldiers of Islamic state, Murad was transported to Mosul, the de facto “capital” of the ISIS’s caliphate.

During her ordeal Murad and the other women sex-slaves held captive and systematically gang-raped, tortured and beaten.

The terrorists organised slave markets for selling off the women and girls, and Yazidi women were forced to renounce their religion.

Determined to join her family Murad escaped and cross the few dozen kilometres to Iraqi Kurdistan to enter camps of the displaced Yazidi, where, she learnt that her mother and her six brothers were killed. Helped by an organisation that assists Yazidis, she reunited with her sister in Germany. Since then Murad has become a global voice, campaigning against violence.

Iraq insists Kurds cancel referendum

Iraq’s Kurdistan region has offered a joint Kurdish-Iraqi deployment at a strategic crossing into Turkey, with the participation of the U.S.-led coalition that was assisting to defeat Islamic State.

The offer was disclosed hours after Iraqi armed forces accused the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) of delaying the handover to Iraq of control of the borders with Turkey, Iran and Syria, and threatened to resume operations to capture Kurdish-held areas.

The KRG defense department said the offer was part of a “deconfliction” proposal made to the Iraqi government on October; 31.

The other elements included a ceasefire on all fronts, continued cooperation in the fight against Islamic State and a joint deployment in so-called disputed territories, which are areas claimed by both the KRG and the Iraqi central government.

The KRG “continues to welcome a permanent ceasefire on all fronts, deconfliction and the start of a political dialogue” with Baghdad, the Kurdish statement said.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi ordered economic and military retaliation after Iraqi Kurds voted for independence in a referendum held in September that Baghdad declared illegal. He insists that the KRG cancels the referendum outcome as a precondition for any dialogue. Iran and Turkey back his measures against Iraq’s Kurds, fearing the drive for independence will spread to their own Kurdish populations.

Kurdish leader Barzani stepped down

Masoud Barzani, who spent decades leading the long-oppressed Kurds, confirmed on he was stepping down as president of the Kurdistan Regional Government after his drive for independence backfired.

After decades of struggle, critics say Barzani made one of his biggest mistakes by pushing hard for a referendum on the 25th of September.

Kurds voted overwhelmingly for independence, but won little support outside their region. As well as the Iraqi government, Turkey and Iran threatened to take tough action against any move towards secession, fearing it would encourage their own restive Kurdish populations to follow suit.

Kurdistan international flights banned

International flights to and from Iraq’s Kurdistan region were set to end from 6:00 p.m. (11.00 a.m. ET) on Friday, September 29, after the central government imposed a ban in retaliation for the region’s vote in a referendum for independence.

Almost all foreign airlines suspended flights to the airports of Erbil and Sulaimaniya, in compliance with a notice from the government in Baghdad, which has control over the country’s airspace.

Lufthansa and Austrian were the only carriers to have kept at least one flight still scheduled after the deadline. But a spokesman for Lufthansa Group said on Friday morning it was checking whether it would have to cancel flights.

Lufthansa flies once a week to Erbil on Saturdays, while its unit Austrian Airlines flies daily. Domestic flights are still permitted to and from Kurdistan, and so travelers are expected to get there mostly by transiting via Baghdad’s airport, which will come under strain from the extra traffic.

Kurdish airports handle 40 to 50 percent of Iraq’s total international traffic, Taher Abdallah, Sulaimaniya airport’s director general, told reporters on Wednesday.

Check-in operations at Erbil’s international airport were running smoothly on Friday morning and there was no sign of disruption.

Iraq’s Kurds endorsed secession by nine to one in a vote on Monday, September 25, that caused Baghdad knitting brows, and other governments who fear the referendum could lead to renewed conflict in the region.

The United Nations and United States have both offered to help mediate between Kurdistan and Baghdad.