Transcript of President Nechirvan Barzani’s Inaugural Address

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equalrights - 10 May 2019

President Nechirvan Barzani called for unity, harmony and uprooting extremism during his inaugural address during a parliamentary session on Monday, 10 June.

Below is the transcipt of the inagural speech

Mr. President Barzani,
Mr. President Dr. Barham Salih, the President of federal Iraq,
Mr. Mohammed Halbusi, the speaker of Iraqi parliament,
Mr. Mevlut Chawesh Oghlu, the Foreign Minister of Turkey,
Mr. Thamir Suhban, the State Minister for Gulf Affairs,
Mrs. Speaker of Kurdistan parliament,

Respected ambassadors of countries in Iraq,
Diplomats, leaders, politicians and political parties,
Guests and dear attendees from Iraq, Kurdistan, and anywhere who have taken the effort to come here,
Dear citizens of Kurdistan Region and Iraq,

Good day and welcome everyone.

It is our pleasure that you are all here to take part with us in this ceremony.

Mrs speaker of Kurdistan parliament, parliament members, representatives of the people of Kurdistan representing all colours and viewpoints of the people of Kurdistan:

I thank you, the representative of people, who have elected me as the future four-year President of Kurdistan Region. I thank all, who have voted for me, not voted for me and those who didn’t attend parliament on the voting day. I thank all of you.

Each of you, through your own will representing the electorate and through the recommendation of the party you represent, has practised the democratic right and duty. At this time, the biggest achievement is the continuation of the democratic process in Kurdistan Region. Thanks for giving me the confidence.

On a day like today and during the preparation for this new task, we remember many nice and sad events. Some events happened long time ago, but they are entrenched in our humane sense and they cannot be easily forgotten so that we can learn from them.

Some of the events are not very recent; yet, their nice and sad impacts affect us on a daily basis. The most terrible new event has been the barbaric attack of ISIS on many cities, towns, villages of Kurdistan Region and Iraq. The form of killing by ISIS terrorists has been unprecedented and has shocked us all, it has rocked the world.

Many people didn’t expect such type of barbarity. Many people didn’t believe such a dark force would commit all those atrocities and crimes in the twenty-first century. It seemed that the terrorists were successful for a short time in their aim for terrorizing the world.

Mr President Barzani played an important and main role in confronting ISIS terrorists and defeating their dark dreams of destruction. His excellency has taken part directly in protecting and defending the people of Kurdistan with all his abilities.

He has put his vigilance, continuous efforts at the frontlines with the brave Peshmerga, patience, determination, experience of being a Peshmerga from the age of (16) until today into service to defend and protect life and humanity of Kurdistan Region, Iraq and the world.

At that difficult stage, apart from having a decisive military role and raising the morale and the belief of Peshmerga at the frontlines, Mr President Barzani has taken the people of Kurdistan, who were facing real threat and danger, to a safe coast through his nearly (55) years experience of struggle and effort in revolution, leadership and leading revolutions, and wisdom and experience.

Today’s ceremony which is a democratic process is the product of struggle, effort and determination of President Barzani and the struggle of our people. This is their struggle towards democratizing Kurdistan Region.

After the uprising, President Barzani was the first who asked for holding elections in a rally in Koya in April of 1991 to run Kurdistan and so that the people of Kurdistan would elect their own representatives through a democratic process.  The history of President Barzani’s struggle and effort will inspire our right steps for the future.

The Peshmerga, with the help of International Coalition led by the USA along with the Iraqi forces of the army and PMF, have been successful in liberating the occupied areas and the persecuted people under ISIS. We all have paid great sacrifices for the sake of freedom, liberty, right to live, homeland and our people.

Our regards to the souls of martyrs and their proud families, and we hope for a swift recovery for the wounded. Our regards to the Peshmerga, Iraqi forces including the army and the PMF and the other forces who have played their historical role during the critical period of Kurdistan Region, Iraq and the world. Our defence was the defence for humanity, the right to live and freedom.

The Coalition of countries against ISIS has played an effective and courageous role in helping and supervising Peshmerga for putting an end to the power of ISIS terrorists. Our thanks go to the governments and the armed forces of the International Coalition led by the USA and all the other countries of the region and the world that have helped and guaranteed the hope of life, peace and freedom in Kurdistan Region and Iraq.

The Peshmerga has proved as always that it can protect the country. We try at the future phases to reorganize, strengthen and achieve the constitutional rights and dues of the Peshmerga as part of the defence system of Iraq. We thank the Coalition who have helped and supported us in this regard.

Respected attendees,

Kurdistan Region as a constitutional federal region of Iraq has proved to be a visible and an effective part of the region and the international community. It has also a remarkable role in protecting the stability and the balance of economy and politics of the region. All the political, economic, cultural and social developments of the region and the world affect Kurdistan Region directly.

Therefore, the future phases require Kurdistan Region to develop more cooperation, coordination and more development of relations with Iraq, countries of the region and our friends in the world. Therefore, we want to extend our hands for this purpose to help, coordinate and conduct mutual work with all.

We go through a critical period of political and social differences at the global level and in many countries. Our society, like any other humane society, requests liberty, freedom, social development and prosperity. At the same time, like many other nations, we are not free from political, social, economic and ideological struggles.

At our internal level of Kurdistan Region, we often focus more in our political and press culture on challenges and disagreements more than what is necessary. Let’s have more agreement, unity and consensus at all social and political levels.

I don’t think this is an impossible request for the political parties of Kurdistan Region. I don’t think there is not anyone who doesn’t wish for unity, agreement and consensus and put aside our differences of views.

I know the challenges and differences remain, this is something normal, but I ask for our thinking to be not in disagreement, disunity and non-consensus. Instead of degrading the positions of one another, let’s put our thinking, behaviour and actions together constructively in order to seek a common solution and a common future.

Let’s let the homeland put us together, let’s let the representatives of all components of Kurdistan Region from different parties take part in the reconstruction and strengthening our movement towards the future.

My demand and request as the President of Kurdistan Region for the next years is working together to achieve hopes greater than the hopes of ours and each political parties.

Let’s identify our common direction together. Together with Iraq, our neighbours, our friends in the International Community and international organizations, let’s protect the new and appropriate contemporary situation which is compatible with our society in Kurdistan Region, our life and our homeland.

I have no doubt that we don’t go astray when we together lay out the new joint roadmap for Kurdistan Region and Iraq. It will be clear for all of us what directions we will take and what will be necessary to reach our joint goal.

We need to work together with the federal government in Baghdad to find a joint solution within the federal and constitutional framework of Iraq; a constitution that the people of Iraq has dreamed of for years so that it would become a new basis for a new Iraq in which the rights of Kurdistan Region and all the other components would be protected within the framework of federal democratic governance, and a constitution that four-fifths of people have voted for.

The federal constitution becomes the guarantor of coexistence, understanding, mutual acceptance and strengthening the political process in Iraq through the implementation of all its articles and paragraphs.

We had hope in the constitution, but unfortunately it could not be implemented as it was. The new Iraq could not be built as it was the dream of all the people of Iraq; the new Iraq that Kurdistan Region had an active role and participation to defend it and build all its institutions.

There is no other alternative in Iraq for the constitution. We have seen that neglecting the constitution intentionally and unintentionally or not implementing any article of the constitution will lead to dissent, disunity and non-consensus within the components of Iraq.

We can make the constitution alive again through understanding and joint work. We can respect it and implement it indistinguishably so that a dark force like ISIS would not remerge and disasters like the ones happened in Sinjar and other parts of Iraq and Kurdistan would not be repeated so that Iraq and Kurdistan Region would be quieter and more prosperous and far from the threat of war and terror that still threatens Iraq, the region and the world. This will require us to work and coordinate together to confront and uproot terror.

Dear respected attendees,

In our far and recent history, war has caused destruction, social backwardness and the meltdown of the economy. Warmongers often don’t think that the fire of war would get into their homes as well. The best example that we all remember is the Ba’ath attack on Kurdistan, Iran and Kuwait. Many innocent people lost their lives. Life, economy and the state of people’s psychology got disrupted.

The use of chemical weapons and the decision of mass killings became the practised policy of the regime. Until now, the people of this country, Kurdistan Region and even the region pay the price of warmongering of that time and it is not clear when the bad implications of the wars will end.

Let’s heal our past wounds through forgiveness and not through revenge or plans incompatible with coexistence.

Dear respected attendees,

Dear Kurdistanis…

Let’s together forthrightly and patriotically take constructive steps toward negotiating a collective agreement for governing our country without any national, religious, or territorial discrimination.

The Kurds have always declared humanistic and peace-loving intentions. We should be proud that the Kurdistan Freedom Movement never allowed former compulsory battles against former regimes to result in Arab-Kurds wars.

It is most often stated that Iraq is massively rich for natural resources; however, from now on we should prove to ourselves and to the world that establishing peace and solidarity are more significant than any natural resources to us.

At the regional level, let’s establish political and social reconciliation, coexistence, economic development and political consensus together. Fast changes in this region require unified efforts and absence of dissent and non-consensus.

Finally, we will all be responsible for the successes and failures. The whole components of Kurdistan Region are in need of protection of their rights, properties, economic, social and human resources.

Once we try to keep and strengthen the security of Kurdistan Region, once we attempt continuously to revive the economy, reorganize our relations with our close and distant neighbours and friends, we should not forget that each of these countries have political, economic and social interests like us.

Strengthening relations with neighbouring countries on the basis of thoughtfulness and respect ensure the protection of everyone’s interests within the framework of international law, diplomatic norms, and diplomatic constitution, the sovereignty of each country with its constitutional components.

Undoubtedly, it will be the responsibility of the Kurdistan Region President to work for linking the KR with the neighbouring countries for developing economy, trading, strengthening diplomatic relations, and finding mutual solutions for any conflicts and sharing interests. Implementing this strategy can never stand as a threat to Iraq, it would rather result in strengthening friendly and neighbouring relations at all the levels.

Ladies and gentlemen

Protecting and developing Kurdistan Region’s relations with friends and the International Community, which is in their interest and their aim, is the responsibility of the Kurdistan Region President. We all know that without international support, ISIS would have brought about much more massive destruction and atrocities to Kurdistan and Iraq. Undoubtedly, such supports ensured our success and ISIS failure.

I thank for the endurance of every single citizens of the Kurdistan Region. Despite the war, shortage of salaries, slow movement of the market, low economic activities, people understood the sensitivity of the situation and helped Kurdistan Region so that the government could pass through the difficulties and shortages of the past years with pride.

If the experience of the past few years is our guide, we should agree on the fact that recognizing our differences should not become an obstacle in meeting the requests and interests of the people of Kurdistan Region in general.

Regardless to all our differences, the current and next generation deserve a better future. Success of the new generation in education, science, technological advancement and engineering along with development in sociology, medicine, psychology, history, and human development will all lead our society toward a better and bright future.

Our coexistence, social, economic and political development and the development of all other sectors require serious and appropriate work to protect nature and environment in a way that should be in line with our current and future responsibilities so that the environment will not be hurt as the main source of life.

We will be faithful to our previous generations through doing joint work. We can hand over our country to the future generations with honesty. I will use my post seriously through all my capabilities, experience and my own will to help the new Prime Minister, his cabinet and all his ministers in order for them to be successful in their responsibilities and their own work. The success of each of one of us is the success of all.

Again, I assure fellow citizens of Kurdistan that the presidency of the Region will be the umbrella of unity for the all forces and political parties with different religions and ethnic minorities regardless to their differences for the sake of peaceful coexistence and the safety of the people of Kurdistan.

Kurdistan Region is the property of all Kurdistanis with all their differences. The presidency of Kurdistan Region will be the platform for their desires and the requests and their rights without discrimination. It will be for all and it will look at them without discrimination.

I reiterate that security and social peace are the guarantors of rights of individuals and the society. our main aim is adopting dialogue to solve all the problems between Kurdistan Region and the federal government within the framework of the constitution. I also reiterate keeping the strong and friendly relationship with the neighbouring countries and the region and keep strengthening the position and balance of Kurdistan Region at the regional and international level.

We work seriously and exert all our efforts to achieve the constitutional rights of Kurdistan Region, guarantee the human rights, freedoms, global principles of the developed world to guarantee the rights and dues of all people from various walks of life, uprooting all kinds of violence, strengthening coexistence, acceptance and making the country to be the country for all and make everyone to regard it as its own country. We all have one sun to rise above us. We all have one future and one destiny.

I thank all the leaders and presidents of the countries around the world who have given us congratulatory messages directly or indirectly.

I once again thank you for your presence and wish for a nice day for all.