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A Kurdistan Update

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

A group of British MPs yesterday launched a Report on their most recent fact-finding visit to the Kurdistan Region of Iraq at a press conference in Parliament. The MPs concluded that although Kurdistan has to urgently overcome some defects, it is an inspiring success story in the making which deserves stronger support.

Meg Munn MP, the Co-Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on the Kurdistan Region, said:


"What we are seeing is the development of democracy in Kurdistan and it isn’t a straight forward process. Kurdistan has an awful lot to offer the region in terms of democratic processes while it moves forward itself."

Meg Munn MP said the group met many organisations and individuals during their visit in June and looked into the protests in Suleimaniah earlier this year. She commented:


"We are not resourced to hold an inquiry into what took place but we talked to lots of people. Our view is the government needs to continue to reform and needs more independent institutions, while there needs to be a better understanding of the role of the opposition. We look forward to Kurdistan continuing to develop."

Nadhim Zahawi MP, the group’s Co-Chair, said:


“The future of Iraq lies in a truly functional federal system. The rest of Iraq can learn from Kurdistan’s example. It isn’t perfect but is one that is beginning to deliver to the people."

Robert Halfon MP, Vice-Chair of the group, commended Kurdistan’s efforts to reform its education system. He said:


“The all-party group will ask the UK government to continue funding the Rawabit partnership scheme to improve vocational education throughout Iraq.”

He also said:


“Kurdistan seems to be the most religiously tolerant nation in the Middle East. This is an important model for other countries to follow and we should support it.”

In answer to a question about UK-Kurdistan relations, Mr Zahawi said:


“There has been a step-change in the relationship between our government and the KRG, thanks in part to the work of the All-Party group. After the visits we meet British ministers to discuss Kurdistan, and we have helped to achieve greater British involvement in education, business and other areas. And the British Embassy office in Erbil was recently upgraded to a consulate general.”

Commenting on the Report, Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman, the Kurdistan Regional Government’s High Representative, said:


"The members of this APPG are very active and thorough, and supportive of strengthening relations between Kurdistan and the UK. This latest Report, like previous ones, presents the group’s view on where Kurdistan is setting an example and where we need to do more. We welcome their interest, support and constructive criticism."

The All-Party Group delegation met a wide range of people, including the political blocs in parliament, the press, NGOs, women’s rights activists and government ministers. Over the past few years, APPG members have made five visits to Kurdistan. They also meet members of the Kurdish community in the UK, the British government as well as other interested parties.

The remit of the All-Party Parliamentary Group is to promote friendship and understanding between the people of the Kurdistan Region and Britain, to encourage the development of democratic institutions in Kurdistan, as part of the democratic and federal process in the rest of Iraq.


The Report is available online:



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