PM Barzani urges for a fresh approach to the Kurdish issue

"Kurds have also demanded the same rights and dignities, yet our cause has often been forsaken."
Kurdistan Region Prime Minister Masrour Barzani (Photo: KRG)
Kurdistan Region Prime Minister Masrour Barzani (Photo: KRG)

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The Kurdistan Region’s Prime Minister Masrour Barzani, the Chairman of the American University of Kurdistan (AUK)'s Board of Trustees, on Monday in his opening speech at the Middle East Peace and Security Forum (MEPS) 2023 urged "a fresh approach to how we as Kurdistanis coexist with our neighbours."

"We have all seen heart-breaking videos showing innocent civilians, children and elderly as victims of another devastating war," he said on the ongoing war in Gaza.

"These scenes must be a wakeup call. Violence on the scale we are observing is never a solution and will not bring peace but endless cycles of destruction and calamity."

"We must not only condemn war and violence but find peaceful solutions to outstanding disputes and problems before escalating into military confrontation. We must not wait to solve problems while we can before losing control of events. We must accept each other’s differences and learn to live together with respect and not look for excuses to reject the other side."

However, he also added that the framing of the decade-old conflicts is also problematic. "For example, for 30 years the call for a two-state solution for Palestinians and Israelis has been seen as a just and necessary model."

"Kurds have also demanded the same rights and dignities, yet our cause has often been forsaken. How do you reconcile resounding support for one just cause and deafening silence for another? It is time to do better. Intractable problems require bold responses. And, as the world looks for ways to turn the Palestinian crisis into an overdue solution, I urge a fresh approach to how we as Kurdistanis coexist with our neighbours."

Climate change

Moreover, PM Masrour Barzani in his speech also addressed climate change in the Middle East. "A rapidly warming planet will have cruel implications for our part of the world, fuelling food insecurity, water scarcity and mass migration," he said.

"This is not a problem to kick down the road. It is happening now. Heatwaves are more frequent. Floods in our lands are happening more frequently, we are having to dig deeper wells to find water. Recent indications show that predictions of temperature rises in the Middle East, made not long ago, will be well short of reality. We need to do better to manage emission of carbon. We have every reason to do so, and no reason not to."

"Now is not the time to avoid responsibility or to wish our problems away. We need to act in a collective good, as citizens first and foremost, but with an added global dimension," he underlined.

He added that "Kurdistan will not escape the effects of a warming Kuwait. Bahrain and Basra are linked not just by sea - but by a common climate destiny."

Developments in Iraq

PM Masrour Barzani also addressed recent 'concerning' developments in Iraq.

"Repeated violations of the Iraqi Constitution, and a lack of adherence to the agreement that led to the formation of the current government risks destabilisation, and the re-emergence of sectarianism and divisions among the major constituencies."

"Should unilateral decisions continue to be imposed and government institutions continue to be controlled by one group, the feeling of injustice will only deepen. The by-products of these factors; corruption, injustice and poverty will prove fertile ingredients for a return to instability. Insurgency feeds from such conditions."

Therefore, he said a "wholistic approach to the governance of Iraq and the unfinished business of the region is well overdue."

In conclusion, PM Masrour Barzani encouraged participants of the MEPS 2023 forum to "embrace what we have to offer as Kurdistanis." Through you, I extend an invitation to the world to witness the strides we have made economically and the communities that coexist peacefully among us. We have much to show you, and we invite your participation."

"As we commence this Forum, I urge you to draw upon the collective wisdom within this room. May our discussions be an impetus for innovative ideas and pragmatic solutions.Once again, I extend a heartfelt welcome to each and every one of you to the Middle East Peace and Security Forum."