KRG


German Companies Encouraged to Invest in Kurdistan

Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani received the new Consul General of Germany to the Kurdistan Region, Ms. Barbara Wolf and her accompanying delegation.

In the meeting, which was also attended by Kurdistan Regional Government’s representative in Germany, Mr. Dilshad Barzani, Consul General Wolf thanked the KRG for its assistance to the German Consulate General in Erbil.

She stressed further developing bilateral relations and cooperation with the Kurdistan Region. She reiterated the continuation of humanitarian and military assistance, provided by Germany to the Kurdistan Region. She also stressed encouraging German companies to invest in the Region.

Prime Minister Barzani congratulated Consul General Wolf for her new position and wished her success in her duties. He thanked the German government for its humanitarian and military support to the Kurdistan Region, particularly in the field of the reform of the Ministry of Peshmerga Affairs. He expressed his government’s desire to further strengthening bilateral relations.

The formation of the new Iraqi government and the developments in the wider region were also discussed in the meeting.

(Source: KRG)

KRG Cabinet discusses 2019 Budget

Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani chaired the 49th regular session of the Council of Ministers on Tuesday. It was also attended by Deputy Prime Minister Qubad Talabani.

Prime Minister Barzani briefed the Council about his recent visit to Baghdad and meeting with Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi. He said, they agreed to continue dialogue and coordination and demanded implementation of the Iraqi Council of Representatives decision to unify salaries and privileges of the families of the martyrs and Anfal victims in the Region with those of their counterparts in the federal government. They also discussed reopening the Erbil-Kirkuk road and the readiness of the KRG to export Kirkuk oil.

Regarding the new Iraqi government, Prime Minister Barzani emphasized the KRG has no veto against anyone. While protecting common interests, he said what is important to the Kurdistan Region is the new government’s programme that would help to materialize the rights and the constitutional authorities of the Kurdistan Region.

Minister of Martyrs and Anfal Affairs Mahmood Haji Salih and Secretary of the Council of Ministers Dr. Amanj Rahim presented a report on the latest developments in the effort towards international recognition of the crimes committed by ISIS against Yezidis and other ethnic and religious communities as genocide, and on UN Security Council’s Resolution 2379 to form a team to investigate this situation.

The Council of Ministers affirmed the Security Council Resolution to be an important step towards recognizing these crimes as genocide. The Council of Ministers assigned the High Commission on Recognition of ISIS Crimes as Genocide to coordinate with the international team.

Prime Minister Barzani instructed the commission to deliver to the UN team all evidence collected during the past four years about crimes against humanity and acts of genocide directed at Yezidis, Christians, and all other communities to apply justice to perpetrators to the full extent of the law and to compensate the victims and their families.

The Council of Ministers called on the Iraqi federal government to take into account the involvement of legal practitioners, experts, and other representatives of the Kurdistan Region in the implementation of the Security Council Resolution.

The Council of Ministers re-emphasized its policy that protects religious rights and freedoms as basic principles of human rights, believes a nation’s strength lies in its diversity, and that the KRG will continue to endeavor to make the Kurdistan Region a safe place for all members of society.

2019 budget draft

The Council of Ministers also discussed the 2019 budget draft. KRG Minister of Finance and Economy, Rebaz Hamlan, presented a report on the 2019 budget draft, a process suspended since 2014 due to the financial crisis. He informed about steps being taken to estimate general revenues and expenditures in collaboration with ministries.

The Council of Ministers expressed its support and called upon all ministers to coordinate with the Ministry of Finance and Economy as well as the Ministry of Planning.

In a press conference after the meeting, Prime Minister Barzani briefed the media on latest development in the region.

Regarding reports suggesting that US Special Envoy Brett McGurk urged postponement of the September 30th Kurdistan election, Prime Minister Barzani stated, “There is nothing like that. He hasn’t discussed this issue with us. What has been discussed is whether elections will be held or not. Yes, they will be held on time. No talk of postponing elections by Mr. Brett McGurk with us has happened. Up to the moment, no political party in Kurdistan Region has asked that the September 30th elections be postponed. If I speak as the KDP, we from the Kurdistan Democratic Party emphasize that elections need to be held at their scheduled time.”

About negotiations with Baghdad on various issues, Prime Minister Barzani said, “There are some principles important in negotiations with Baghdad. It is very important for the people of Kurdistan and for all parties to jointly participate in this process. Serious talks will begin after manual vote counting is concluded and the results are officially confirmed and announced by the Iraqi Federal Court.

Regarding trade between the Kurdistan Region and Islamic Republic of Iran after the sanctions were reimposed on Iran by the US Government, Prime Minister Barzani said, “Until now, the sanctions are not clear to us. But certainly, the Kurdistan Region will take steps within the framework and position of Iraq. We asked the US and talked with Baghdad to make it clear to us. We asked and await the US to send a delegation to explain what exactly should and should not be done.”

Regarding the Rosneft agreement and any tension with Baghdad, he said, “What we have done with Rosneft is a commercial matter. Our contracts are within the framework of the Iraqi Constitution.” He also said, “Now that Baghdad can’t practically export Kirkuk oil, which is about 250 to 300 thousand barrels per day, we have told them we are ready to facilitate export to Ceyhan port where Iraq’s State Oil Marketing Organization, SOMO, can sell the oil and, of course, all revenue will be for all Iraq.

(Source: KRG)

KRG PM receives new Consul General of the Netherlands

The Prime Minister of Iraqi Kurdistan, Nechirvan Barzani, received the Netherlands new Consul General to the Kurdistan Region, Mr. Willem Consijn and his accompanying delegation.

Consul General Consijn stressed his country’s willingness to strengthen the relations with the Kurdistan Region.

Prime Minister Barzani congratulated Consul General Consijn on his new position and wished him success in his duties, assuring him of his government’s support during his mission.

He stressed Kurdistan Regional Government’s desire to strengthen bilateral relations and cooperation, especially in the agriculture sector.

He also thanked the Dutch government for its humanitarian and military assistance to the Kurdistan Region, particularly in the field of the reform of the Ministry of Peshmerga Affairs.

Prime Minister Barzani’s recent visit to the Netherlands and his meeting with Prime Minister Mark Rutte was also discussed.

(Source: KRG)

New Power Plant inaugurated in Sulaymaniyah

Kurdistan Regional Government Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani inaugurated a new power station in Sulaymaniyah.

In a speech during the ceremony, Prime Minister Barzani thanked South Korea for helping build the plant, which generates 400 KV electric power.   He also said that despite major challenges, the KRG has taken serious steps ahead, and it allocated significant resources to the electricity sector.

Below is the transcript of Prime Minister Barzani’s speech:

Ladies and gentlemen,

Good morning.  I welcome you all to the grand opening ceremony of the 400 KV power plant in Bazian. I congratulate everyone on successfully finishing this important project, and I hope this project will contribute to solving the electricity issue in the area and in the Kurdistan Region in general.

I commend the Ministry of Electricity, the Korean National Oil Company (KNOC), the project implementer Posco from South Korea, the Ministry of Natural resources and all others involved in delivering this project after facing many obstacles and issues such as the fight against terror and the financial crisis. Although it has taken a long time, the project was finally finished and started operating.

I would like to especially thank the local community here and those respected individuals who some of them are present here today. They have played an important role in resolving many issues related to social issues or land ownership disputes or compensation issues. I again applaud them for their efforts, and I welcome them again.

Ladies and gentlemen,

This project is part of a wider strategic plan set out by the KRG for the electricity sector. However, similar to other projects, it has been delayed due to the war against the terror and financial crisis. It is true that the war and the financial crisis have adversely affected all aspects of life, but the KRG, with the support of its loyal citizens and friends of Kurdistan Region, has always striven to overcome the problems and the crises by implementing the projects to its best capacity even during the hardships.

Yes, I agree that there is a problem in the electricity sector. There has been the inability for the projects and plans to be implemented adequately. And, a there has been an exponential increase in demand on electricity and other public services due to urban development of the cities and towns, constant building of mega constructions such as malls, industrial areas and the renovation of the villages. And an imposed war was among other reasons that KRG could not implement its plans and projects as it should have.

Despite all that, the KRG made serious steps ahead, and it allocated significant resources to the electricity sector. Meanwhile, it encouraged private investors to initiate large projects for that sector in Erbil, Sulemani, Duhok, Halabja and other areas.

And now, enforced by the perseverance of our patient people and the heroic sacrifices of our valiant Peshmergas, we have vanquished the plans of our foes. The hard days are passing. The KRG, with all its capacity, will make steps ahead on all fronts, and it will, again, resume the projects. For the electricity sector too, we are in need of small and large steps, and this project is one of those steps. It is an attempt to reduce the issues of electricity.

Besides those attempts by the KRG to better the electricity, as previously announced that the KRG is going ahead with the implementation of Smart-Meters for electricity. This new system will have a major role in reorganizing the electricity distribution process; therefore, it would translate into providing more electricity to the public.

In addition, this system will help in changing a bad cultural habit of over-consumption of electricity and tampering with it. Instead, it will help create a new and good habit. The habit of energy conservation and reducing the consumption of electricity is very necessary for the Kurdistan Region. This system will encourage everyone to use only the amount of electricity that is needed and when needed.

Ladies and gentlemen,

This project in Bazian benefits the national grid, but it also has a special benefit to the area, which is an industrial area, as industrial projects can benefit from it. As planned by the KRG, I hope to see more projects in other sectors to be implemented in this area.
Bazian and its surrounding area with its patient and forbearing people have a history full of pride, and they undoubtedly deserve more projects and better services. The KRG will diligently continue in pursuing its mission of equally reconstructing every part of Kurdistan without distinction. It will equally provision services and implement projects in all areas.

The KRG has never made distinctions between two different areas or between cities. Because of political competitions and rivalries, some people have irresponsibly resorted to creating a false image of KRG for being unequal to different areas of the Kurdistan Region. There are some people are ready to do anything just to make people lose trust and faith in their own government.  They continuously work on disseminating the culture of rejection of everything.

They do this for only one reason because they are not in power and they have not been able to win the trust of people. This is a very damaging phenomenon, because the nation, the government, and institutions belong to the people of Kurdistan, but not any political party or any other faction. It is correct that there are shortages and problems, but not everything in this country is negative.

The people of Kurdistan are very aware and mindful than to listen to those dark pessimistic voices. It was because of the strong awareness of the people of Kurdistan, we were able to surpass all those recent years of hardship and crises. It was because of the loyalty and deep understanding of the people of Kurdistan for the situation, we were able to withstand all the problems, the war, and the crises, as they never lost faith and trust.

Here, I would like to express the utmost gratitude and reverence of the government to the people of Kurdistan and those who are on the payroll of the KRG. They have demonstrated their faithfulness to their nation, and they showed their maximum understanding of the serious situation and the threats that were engulfing the Kurdistan Region.
I would like to applaud the courageous Peshmergas, security forces and volunteers, who fought with soul and blood in defending what is achieved so far. I salute our fallen heroes. Our heartfelt condolences to the martyr’s family members and their relatives.

Dear fellow citizens of Kurdistan,

The interests of the Kurdistan Region and protecting its accomplishments requires us to be united. It is normal for the political parties to be competitive with each other. But for the public interest, for attaining the constitutional rights for the Kurdistan Region and in critical matters, we need to be together and unified.

I, again, call upon all factions in the Kurdistan Region to put aside their political discords, and go to Baghdad as one team, formed on the basis of the interests of the people of Kurdistan.

In conclusion, I congratulate all who participated in succeeding in this project. I wish for us to meet again in ceremonies similar to this project in this area and all other areas in the Kurdistan Region.
Thank you all.

(Source: KRG)

KRG Acts against Illegal Refineries

KRG Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani chaired on Wednesday a meeting of the KRG Oil and Gas Council.

It was also attended by Deputy Prime Minister Qubad Talabani, relevant ministers, governors, supervisors of local administrations, and representatives of the Integrity Commission, Board of Supreme Audit, the Attorney General’s Office, and Security (Assayish).

The Ministry of Natural Resources presented a report on the number and locations of illegal refineries with dates of operation. Because these refineries are a serious threat to citizen health and the environment it was agreed to accelerate control of the situation.

Prominent examples in both Erbil and Suleimaniya Governorates were presented in which refinery residues severely damaged water resources, agricultural production, and adversely affected citizen health.

It was decided the Ministry of Natural Resources in cooperation with the Ministry of Interior and the heads of administrative units would soon work in accordance with law to resolve this issue. The government would take necessary procedures to protect the environment and health of citizens, and later present results of legal proceedings to the public.

Prime Minister Barzani and Deputy Prime Minister Talabani stressed the need for especially the executive administrative units such as the Ministry of Interior, the Security Council, and the police to cooperate with governors to address this issue within the framework of the legal mechanism that was put forward during the meeting.  Also, the Attorney General has been mandated to cooperate on legalities.

They stressed that protection of the environment and preservation of citizens’ lives are priorities that supersede economic issues – a distinction must be made between the lives of citizens, the environment, and the provision of fuel.

(Source: KRG)

Prime Minister Barzani receives Saudi Delegation

KRG Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani received a delegation from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia including President of the Chambers of Commerce of Saudi Arabia Dr. Sami bin Abdullah Al-Obaidi, Saudi Ambassador to Iraq Abdulaziz al-Shammari, Saudi Consul General to the Kurdistan Region Mansour Faisal al-Otaibi and a number of officials and members of Saudi Chambers of Commerce.

Opportunities for investment in the Kurdistan Region and strengthening of economic and trade relations in various sectors were discussed. In particular, they highlighted areas of mutual interest in industry, agriculture and tourism.

The delegation expressed desire to encourage investment in the Kurdistan Region due particularly to the security and stability which prevail in the Region and its appropriate conditions for investment.

Starting direct flights between the Kurdistan Region and Saudi Arabia and the opening of a Saudi bank in the Kurdistan Region and Iraq were discussed as initial steps. They also agreed to hold a conference in the Kurdistan Region or in Saudi Arabia with the participation of investors and businessmen from Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and the Kurdistan Region. Establishing a joint committee to monitor progress on these initiatives was agreed.

Prime Minister Barzani expressed the KRG’s readiness to provide assistance and facilities for Saudi companies to invest in the Kurdistan Region and to promote and develop economic and trade relations between Iraq and the Kurdistan Region with Saudi Arabia.

Kurdistan Region Presidency Chief of Staff Dr. Fuad Hussein and a number of KRG officials also attended the meeting.

(Source: KRG)

Dana Gas gets $44m from KRG in 1H

By John Lee.

Dana Gas has said it has received $43.8 million in dividends from Pearl Petroleum Company Limited for condensate and LPG sales in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI) in the first half of 2018, including a $7 million payment for the month of June.

The company added that the capacity to process gas and condensate from the Khor Mor field (pictured) will increase by 580 MMscf/d and 20 mbbld, respectively, with the expansion programme is on track to deliver an increase in output of 80 MMscf/d by Q3 2018.

(Sources: Rudaw, Mubasher)

Iraq “in Talks” with Turkey, KRG over Kirkuk Exports

By John Lee.

Iraqi Oil Minister Jabar Ali al-Luaibi [Allibi, Luiebi] has said that Iraq is still in talks with Turkey and Kurdish regional authorities to resume exports of Kirkuk crude oil through the Turkish port of Ceyhan (pictured).

He said that production from Kirkuk is currently 220,000 bpd, which is entirely used by local refineries.

More here.

(Source: Reuters)

KRG and Iraqi Customs Duties to be Unified

By John Lee.

Iraq and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) will reportedly soon unify customs duties to streamline the system and prevent the double taxation of the Kurdistan Region’s businessmen.

According to Rudaw, Erbil and Baghdad have two different customs fees, causing disputes between the two aresa.

They previously reached a preliminary agreement on unifying the customs fee, but could not agree on who would receive the revenues.

More here.

(Source: Rudaw)