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 Iraqi Kurdistan Government Deputy Prime Minister urges continued US presence and Turkish investment

 Source : Kurdistan Regional Government - KRG
  Kurd Net does not take credit for and is not responsible for the content of news information on this page

 


Iraqi Kurdistan Government Deputy Prime Minister urges continued US presence and Turkish investment  24.11.2007




November 24, 2007

Washington DC, USA,-- Mr Omer Fattah, Deputy Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Regional Government said that a long-term US military presence and increased Turkish investment in the Kurdistan Region in Iraq are key ingredients to maintain the region’s stability, economic growth and improved relations between neighbours.

“Turkish companies are the main investors in our Region and we have many social and cultural ties with Turkey. We are against the use of our region for attacks against Turkey,” Mr Fattah told an audience on Monday at the US Institute for Peace. He said Turkish companies have already invested $5 billion in the Kurdistan Region and he expressed gratitude for the past humanitarian and political support Turkey extended to the Kurds in Iraq.         

Omer Fattah, Deputy Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Regional Government in 'northern Iraq'

At the same time, the KRG Deputy Prime Minister was clear that only diplomacy, not Turkish cross-border operations into Kurdistan – could address armed attacks by the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). He said, “Military intervention in Iraq by any of its neighbours will not solve any problems; it will exacerbate them.” He added, “To destabilise this secure region will have profound consequences on the stability of Iraq. It will also be problematic for Turkey, because the instability will be on Turkey’s border.”
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Mr Fattah said that after decades of repression and violence, Kurds and all Iraqis are building the institutions of democracy and freedom, while learning how to be responsible leaders. “We want the idea of Iraq to work and we want to be part of it, provided that the new Iraq protects us and our way of life,” he said.

Mr Fattah expressed deep gratitude for the sacrifices made by the US in liberating Kurdistan and Iraq from Saddam Hussein’s tyranny. He invited the US to have a long-term presence in the Kurdistan Region to enhance regional security and help preserve Kurdistan as a model for Iraq.

To cement the new democracy’s foundation, Mr Fattah said that all Iraqis must commit themselves to the federalism enshrined in the Iraq constitution. “This vision of a federal Iraq, a vision drawn from the experience of nations such as Switzerland, the UK, the UAE and even the US, is the best means for us to protect ourselves against oppression and control from the centre,” he said. “But it is a vision that is not always easy to achieve, and we accept and understand that our federal system must and will evolve over time.”

One way Kurds are contributing is working to develop a robust and modern petroleum development and management policy, and a transparent revenue sharing formula by creating a national oil and gas law, he said. Kurdistan has already passed an oil and gas law for the Kurdistan Region and has begun contracting to develop the oil and gas infrastructure. This will bring much needed development and ultimately assist Baghdad, since 83% of the proceeds from the sale of oil extracted from Kurdistan will go to the national treasury, Mr Fattah said. He said, “They will make a profit if they come,” inviting oil companies to invest.
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“Who else can today secure the investment of hundreds of millions of dollars for Iraq as we have done, and why is that considered a bad thing,” Fattah said. “The role of Kurds in the new Iraq is manifold, anchored on the more than 15 years of peace and democratisation that we have been developing in our Region since 1992. Like many new democracies, there were challenges from within and from beyond our borders; but we prevailed, and the lessons we learned make us strong today.”

For more information contact Tom Squitieri, Director for Public Affairs at the KRG Representation in the US, tom.squitieri(at)krg.org

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