Kurdistan Regional Government
Representation in the United States
Washington D.C.
Welcome to our June 2020 Newsletter
COVID-19 has taken a significant toll this month on the people of the Kurdistan Region. As of today, June 30, there have been 5,904 confirmed cases of the coronavirus with 200 resulting in death. This reflects a sharp rise in the number of cases from June 11, when there were 1,611 positive cases and 29 deaths. The sudden increase is partly due to an easing of restrictions around the Eid holidays and partly due to misinformation that cast doubt on the seriousness of the virus. The KRG’s Ministry of Health is struggling to cope with the sudden rise in cases, and the Ministry of Interior has re-imposed a stay-at-home order in an attempt to stop the increase in infections.

The rise in COVID-19 cases coincides with a severe financial situation in the Kurdistan Region that is impacting all communities.
Also this month, Turkey has launched air and land military operations, attacking villages and populated areas of the Kurdistan Region and disputed territories, including Sinjar, resulting in civilian deaths and injuries, among them young children. Meanwhile, Iran has been shelling border villages in the Haji Omran area.

The Turkish government says it is pursuing the PKK, but the Iraqi Ministry of Foreign Affairs summoned the Turkish and Iranian ambassadors to protest the breach of Iraqi sovereignty. The Kurdistan Regional Government issued a statement condemning the killing of civilians unreservedly, adding, ‘We call on the Republic of Turkey to respect the sovereignty of our homeland. We also call on the PKK to leave these areas immediately to prevent tension on the borders of the Kurdistan Region and further loss of life.’

On a more positive note, earlier this month, the first meeting of the US-Iraq Strategic Dialogue took place. The meeting was held virtually due to travel restrictions and COVID-19-related concerns. Fawzi Hariri, the Head of Diwan of the Kurdistan Region Presidency, was a member of the Iraq delegation in the talks. The KRG is supportive of the dialogue and sees it as an opportunity to put the US-Iraq relationship on a stronger and more sustainable footing and to broaden the economic, security, and capacity-building relationship. We look forward to the next round of the dialogue.

Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman
Representative to the United States
Kurdistan Regional Governmen t
Representative Abdul Rahman congratulates State Department Iraq Director Robert Waller on his posting in Erbil

Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman, the KRG Representative to the United States, congratulated Robert Waller, the U.S. State Department’s Director of the Office of Iraq Affairs, on his assignment as Consul General in Erbil.

KRG officials participate in U.S. Chamber event focusing on business opportunities in Kurdistan

The Kurdistan Regional Government Representation in the United States took part in a virtual event highlighting the business outlook and opportunities in the Kurdistan Region, hosted by the U.S. Chamber...

KRG Representative Participates in a Ministerial Meeting of Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS

Representative Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman took part in a virtual meeting of a small group of Foreign Ministers of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS...

Representative Abdul Rahman and DASD Ledeen discuss security issues

Representative Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman discussed security related issues and US-Kurdistan cooperation with Simone Ledeen, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for the Middle East

KRG Representative briefs Canadian Parliamentary Friends of the Kurds

Representative Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman on Thursday congratulated the Canadian Parliamentary Friends of the Kurds on its fourth anniversary and briefed members...

NCAFP hosts discussion on Kurdistan Region

KRG Representative Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman addressed the members of the National Committee on American Foreign Policy this week in a virtual discussion about Kurdistan Region in Iraq.

A statement from KRG spokesperson on recent Turkish airstrikes in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq
"We are watching today’s incident, as well as others in recent days in border areas, with grave concern. These attacks have tragically killed civilians, and caused significant damage to villages in the areas concerned. The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) condemns the killing of civilians unreservedly. We extend our heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims, and wish the wounded a speedy recovery."

"We call on the Republic of Turkey to respect the sovereignty of our homeland. We also call on PKK to leave these areas immediately in order to prevent tension on the borders of the Kurdistan Region and further loss of life.

Kurdistan Region President receives U.S. Ambassador to Iraq

Kurdistan Region President Nechirvan Barzani received the U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Matthew Tueller on Tuesday.

The latest developments in Iraq, the fight against COVID-19 pandemic and its economic consequences, the recent ISIS movements and its terror threats were discussed at the meeting. The meeting was also attended by the U.S. Consul General in Erbil, Steven Fagin.

President Nechirvan Barzani: It is time to come to a mutual understanding and settle differences

During President Nechirvan Barzani’s meetings with Iraq’s President, Prime Minister, Parliament Speaker and senior political leaders in Baghdad. President Nechirvan Barzani described the current issues facing Iraq as shared difficulties and mutual responsibilities for all Iraqis. The President stated: “We share the same fate, the problems of Iraq and the Kurdistan Region are the problems of all Iraqis”.

President Barzani expressed the importance of moving forward from the difficult experiences of the past years, which were marked by deadlocks and disagreements between both sides. “It is time we come to a mutual understanding through an inclusive agreement which is accepted by both sides....

President Nechirvan Barzani meets with UNSG Special Representative Plasschaert

Kurdistan Region President Nechirvan Barzani met with the United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Iraq, Jeanine Hennis- Plasschaert, in Baghdad on Saturday.

The latest political and economic developments in Iraq and the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic were highlighted at the meeting. The two sides reiterated the importance of cooperation and coordination among all parties in Iraq in order to overcome the current crises facing the country.

President Barzani Reiterates Support for UNITAD Mission in Iraq

Kurdistan Region President Nechirvan Barzani received a phone call from the United Nations Special Advisor Karim Khan, who heads the U.N. Investigative Team to Promote Accountability for Crimes Committed by Da’esh/Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (UNITAD), prior to Mr. Khan’s briefing to the United Nations Security Council on Monday about his team’s work and activities in Iraq.

Mr. Khan updated President Barzani on UNITAD’s continued efforts to bring justice to the victims of ISIS atrocities in Iraq, despite security challenges and the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.

Dr. Ali Tatar Nerway is sworn in as Dohuk’s new Governor

The new governor of Dohuk, Dr. Ali Tatar Nerway, was sworn in today and took the oath of office before Kurdistan Region President Nechirvan Barzani.

In a meeting following the ceremony, President Nechirvan Barzani congratulated the new Governor on assuming the position and wished him success in his new duty. The President appreciated Dr. Tatar’s previous performances, praised his public service experiences and expressed hope that he will continue to work with dedication to provide quality services to Dohuk Governorate and its inhabitants.

Prime Minister Masrour Barzani receives US Ambassador to Iraq
Prime Minister Masrour Barzani on Tuesday met with U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Matthew Tueller to discuss bilateral relations and the latest developments in Iraq.
In the meeting attended by Steve Fagin, the Consul General in Erbil, the two sides had a lengthy exchange about the upcoming U.S.-Iraq Strategic Dialogue. In that regard, the Prime Minister and Ambassador Tueller agreed on the importance of the Kurdistan Region taking part in a way that ensures the outcome serves the interests of all of Iraq’s peoples.

Prime Minister Masrour Barzani discusses government reforms and ISIS threat with coalition delegation

Prime Minister Masrour Barzani on Tuesday met with a delegation from the Global Coalition to discuss the reforms process and the continued threat from ISIS.

The delegation led by Major General Gerald Strickland, Deputy Commander of Coalition Force’s Joint Operation for Stability in Iraq and Syria.

Prime Minister Masrour Barzani discusses security coordination with Iraqi defense minister

Erbil, Kurdistan Region, Iraq (GOV.KRD) - Prime Minister Masrour Barzani on Thursday met with Iraqi Minister Defence of Defence to discuss the recent increase of ISIS terror attacks.

In the meeting, Prime Minister Barzani and Defence Minister Juma Inad called ISIS a threat to Iraq and all its peoples. In that regard, both agreed on the need for coordination between Peshmerga forces and the Iraqi Army, in particular through joint security mechanisms in the disputed territories.

Cabinet discusses reforms and talks with Baghdad

Prime Minister Masrour Barzani on Wednesday chaired a cabinet meeting in Erbil to discuss details of recent negotiations with the federal government on outstanding disputes and progress with the implementation of the reform law.

In the meeting attended by Deputy Prime Minister Qubad Talabani, the Prime Minister spoke about a recent surge in the number of coronavirus infections and fatalities in the Kurdistan Region, and extended his condolences to the families of the dead. He also wished the infected a quick recovery.

Prime Minister Masrour Barzani chairs meeting on developing private sector, tax system

Prime Minister Masrour Barzani on Sunday chaired a cabinet meeting via video conference to discuss ways to further develop the private sector and improve the tax system.

In the meeting, Prime Minister Barzani spoke about the importance of the private sector in the job market and the necessity to review current laws to pave the way for more development in this sector.

Deputy Prime Minister Qubad Talabani receives US ambassador to Iraq

Deputy Prime Minister Qubad Talabani received today US Ambassador to Iraq Matthew Tueller to discuss Kurdistan Region-US relations and ongoing talks with the government in Baghdad on outstanding issues.

During the meeting, the two sides spoke about the need to further strengthen bilateral relations, and expressed concern regarding the recent ISIS resurgence. The Deputy Prime Minister and Ambassador Tueller also exchanged notes on US-Iraq Strategic Dialogue, and both agreed that the Kurdistan Region can play...

Deputy Prime Minister Qubad Talabani meets delegation for federal affairs

Deputy Prime Minister Qubad Talabani chaired a meeting on Tuesday with the members of the delegation holding talks with the federal government on ongoing disputes.

In the meeting, the Deputy Prime Minister spoke about preparations for the next round of talks with Baghdad on oil exports and budgetary issues, and was briefed on a number of reports filed by the delegation’s different committees.

Speaker Rewas Faiq meets with Chaldean Catholic Archbishop of Erbil Bashar Matti Warda

Kurdistan Parliament Speaker Dr. Rewas Faiq on 20 May visited the Chaldean Catholic Archbishop of Erbil, Bashar Matti Warda. They discussed the friendship and peaceful co-existence between the diverse religious and ethnic communities in Kurdistan Region.

Speaker Faiq said that the Kurdistan Parliament, through legislation, strives to protect the cultural and linguistic rights of religious and ethnic communities in Kurdistan. Parliament, as the people’s representatives, will continue to work to maintain peace and stability in Kurdistan, she added.

The Speaker of the Kurdistan Parliament Dr. Rewas Faiq on 20 May visited the Patriarch of the Assyrian Church of the East, His Holiness Mar Gewargis III Sliwa.

Speaker Faiq and Mar Gewargis III discussed the friendship and peaceful co-existence between the diverse religious and ethnic communities in the Kurdistan region. Speaker Faiq said, “The Kurdistan Parliament has worked to protect the peaceful coexistence of all people in Kurdistan, and this is a source of pride for our nation. This is why we believe the elected representatives of your communities should preserve social peace and help solve the public’s problems and complaints.”

Mar Gewargis said, “We are very pleased to see a woman holding the Speaker position in the Kurdistan Parliament.”

KRG-US June Humanitarian Bulletin
In recent days, the Kurdistan Region has seen an alarming spike in COVID-19 cases. More than 2,821 cases have been reported across Erbil, Slemani, Duhok, and Halabja governorates...

Listen to the latest episode of our podcast "Kurdistan in America". 

This episode features an interview with Robert Ford, the former US Ambassador to Algeria and Syria, and former deputy Ambassador to Iraq from 2008 to 2010. Ambassador Ford discusses his experience in Iraq and shares his views about developments in the region.
Kurdistan in the Media

Learn about coexistence among the various religious groups in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq.
The film is produced by HL-senteret as a part of the Inclusive Citizenship project...
State Dept. Spokesperson Morgan Ortagus during a live interview with Kurdistan 24

It is “especially important” for the US “to promote democracy in Iraq,” State Department Spokesperson Morgan Ortagus told Kurdistan 24 on Friday...
Cheney Advisor: US relations with Erbil are model for what ties with Baghdad should be

John Hannah, National Security Advisor to Vice-President Dick Cheney during the George W. Bush administration, shares his thinking about the Kurdistan Region and US-Iraq relations.
Joint Statement on the U.S.-Iraq Strategic Dialogue

The delegation of the Republic of Iraq, led by Senior Under Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Abdul-Karim Hashim Mostafa, and the delegation of the United States Government, led by Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs David Hale, held Strategic Dialogue discussions via video 

Department of State's 2019 Report on International Religious Freedom: Iraq

The constitution establishes Islam as the official religion and states no law may be enacted contradicting the “established provisions of Islam.” It provides for freedom of religious belief and practice for all individuals, including Muslims, Christians, Yezidis, and Sabean-Mandeans, but...

USCIRF Condemns Turkish Military Operations in Northern Iraq

The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) condemned Turkey’s latest round of air strikes and ground operations near civilian areas in northern Iraq...

Iraq: Fixing Security in Kirkuk

As the campaign against the Islamic State (ISIS) wound down in 2017, the question of Iraq’s disputed territories, which stretch along the internal boundary between the Kurdistan region and federal Iraq, re-emerged as a priority for Baghdad. 

Harvard Humanitarian Initiative Report

This survey offers a snapshot of the perceptions and attitudes about peace and justice within communities affected by the conflict with the Islamic State (IS). It is based on 5,213 interviews conducted in 2019 among...

USIP Report: Iraq Conflict and Stabilization Monitoring Framework

The United States Institute of Peace has released its Iraq Conflict and Stabilization Monitoring Framework (CSMF) focused on the challenges to social cohesion, governance, and security in Nineveh province.

Reimagining the U.S.-Iraq Relationship

U.S.-Iraq relations are coming to another important crossroads as senior officials from our two governments come together virtually today for the U.S.-Iraq Strategic Dialogue. They are meeting amidst a global health pandemic that has ...

ISIS is making a comeback, and Iraq's government may not be able to handle it

The Islamic State is stepping up its attacks in Iraq, fulfilling the expectations of many analysts that the extremist group would mount a comeback after the Iraqi government declared victory over it in 2017.

KRG Board of Investment establishes three new directorates to boost investment opportunities, reduce bureaucracy

The Kurdistan Region’s Board of Investment has decided to establish three new investment directorates in three different areas to increase...

COVID-19: Kurdistan Region announces 14 deaths, 232 new infections in last 24 hours

The Kurdistan Region’s Ministry of Health announced on Monday that it had recorded 14 deaths and 232 new coronavirus infections over the past 24 hours.

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For inquiries, please contact Delovan Barwari, the Director of Public and Humanitarian Affairs, at: delovan.barwari@us.gov.krd