Kurdistan Regional Government
Representation in the United States
Washington D.C.
Welcome to our June 2021 Newsletter 
June was a busy month on the diplomatic front for the Kurdistan Region after a lull in high-level international visits due to the pandemic.

The month began with visits by Prime Minister Masrour Barzani to Belgium, Flanders, and Greece where he met with Prime Minister Alexander De Croo (Belgium), Minister-President Jan Jambon (Flanders), and Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis (Greece). They discussed bolstering bilateral ties, the joint fight against ISIS, and ways to strengthen trade and investment.

President Nechirvan Barzani visited the United Arab Emirates to meet Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi. Sheikh Al Nahyan reiterated his country’s support to the Kurdistan Region and Iraq and expressed the UAE’s readiness to develop bilateral relations, while President Barzani congratulated the Sheikh on the UAE’s election to the United Nations Security Council in 2022-2023.

The President also visited Jordan where he was received by King Abdulla II at Al-Husseiniya Palace. President Barzani noted the historic relations between Jordan and the Kurdistan Region and reaffirmed the importance of developing and expanding Iraq’s and the Kurdistan Region’s relations with Jordan.

ISIS and militias

John Godfrey, the US Acting Special Envoy for the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS, visited Erbil this month and met with the Kurdistan Region’s leadership to discuss the ongoing fight against ISIS. The KRG emphasized the need to establish an effective coordination mechanism between Iraq’s Federal Army and the Peshmerga Forces, with the support from the Coalition, to permanently eliminate ISIS, especially in areas where there is a security vacuum.
The KRG is committed to the enduring defeat of ISIS and has always stood against terrorism and extremism. We appreciate the support of the United States and other Coalition partners.

A growing security concern in Kurdistan and Iraq as a whole is the use of drones by militias to attack Kurdish targets as well as Coalition forces and their facilities. The US and all Coalition forces are in Iraq at the invitation of the Iraqi government and to assist Iraqi forces, including the peshmerga, in the fight against ISIS. The militias’ attempts to destabilize Kurdistan will be resisted by all means possible and we ask our friends in Iraq and internationally to stand by the people of Kurdistan.

Washington

Rob Waller is ending his tenure as US Consul General Erbil. The Kurdistan Region thanks Mr. Waller for his service and dedication to the US-Kurdistan partnership. Robert Palladino, formerly chief-of-staff of the US Deputy Secretary of State, will take up the post of Consul General. I met with Mr. Palladino to congratulate him, offer my assistance, and wish him success in Kurdistan. 

We also offer congratulations to Nadine Maenza who has been appointed Chair of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom. Ms. Maenza, who was previously a commissioner at USCIRF, is no stranger to Kurdistan and Iraq and has visited the region many times, meeting with representatives of different faith groups. 

Ms. Maenza is the guest of our monthly Kurdistan in America podcast, and we are delighted that the podcast series has been listed in the top 20 government relations podcasts by Welp Magazine, a digital magazine aimed at business managers. You can see the list here: Welp Magazine Ranking

Lastly, I was honored to attend a luncheon with my dear friends and colleagues from various parts of Kurdistan to discuss common interests. Thank you to the Washington Kurdish Institute for organizing the timely event. 

You can find the link to the podcast and a wide range of news in the newsletter below.


Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman
Representative to the United States
Kurdistan Regional Government
KRG Representative meets with the incoming Consul General to Kurdistan

Representative Bayan Sami Abul Rahman and Robert Palladino, the incoming U.S. Consul General in Erbil, had a warm and productive meeting...

KRG Representative meets with Senator Jim Inhofe

Representative Bayan Sami Abul Rahman and Senator Jim Inhofe (R-Oklahoma), ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, had...

Representative Abul Rahman meets with Andrew Griffin

Representative Bayan Sami Abul Rahman had a virtual meeting with Andrew Griffin, Deputy Director in the Office of Global Change of the Bureau of Oceans...

KRG Rep. meets with NEA's Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Iraq

Representative Bayan Sami Abul Rahman and Ms. Sylvia Curran, the State Department Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs' Acting Deputy Assistant...

KRG Representative meets with Congressman Mike Gallagher

Representative Bayan Sami Abul Rahman and Congressman Mike Gallagher (R-WI), a member of the House Armed Services Committee, had a friendly and...

Welcome to our 2021 Quarterly Humanitarian Bulletin: Q2

The Kurdistan Region of Iraq continues to host the largest number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) and refugees in Iraq. According to Kurdistan Regional...

This month, the Kurdistan in America podcast is honored to host Ms. Nadine Maenza as our guest. Ms. Maenza currently serves as the Chair of the United States Commission for International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), an independent, bipartisan U.S. federal government commission created by the 1998 International Religious Freedom Act that monitors the universal right to freedom of religion or belief abroad.

Ms. Maenza discusses USCIRF's key recommendations on Iraq, the Iraq chapter of USCIRF's 2021 Annual Report, as well as her views on the Sinjar Agreement, the situation in Nineveh Plains, Article 140 of the Iraqi constitution, and the ongoing conflict between Turkey and the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). She also talks about her experience visiting the Kurdistan Region and personal views on the people of Kurdistan.
Kurdistan Region President meets with US Ambassador to Iraq

Kurdistan Region President Nechirvan Barzani received Mr. Matthew Tueller, the United States' Ambassador to Iraq on Monday. Discussions covered the latest developments in Iraq, the Kurdistan Region and the...

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presidency.gov.krd
Kurdistan Region President meets with US Special Envoy

Kurdistan Region President Nechirvan Barzani received Mr. John Godfrey, Acting Coordinator for Counterterrorism and Acting Special Envoy for the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS, and his accompanying...

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presidency.gov.krd
President Barzani meets with King Abdulla II of Jordan

The King of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, King Abdulla II, received the President of the Kurdistan Region Nechirvan Barzani at Al-Husseiniya Palace on Wednesday evening. At the meeting, attended by their...

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presidency.gov.krd
President Barzani closely following the Yazidi Sharya Camp

Kurdistan Region President Nechirvan Barzani spoke to the Governor of Dohuk, Mr. Ali Tatar, on Friday to closely follow up the situation in the Sharya Camp where a large fire broke out earlier today causing...

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presidency.gov.krd
President Barzani meets with Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi

The President of the Kurdistan Region Nechirvan Barzani met with His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces of the United Arab...

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presidency.gov.krd
Kurdistan Region President visits political parties

Continuing his meetings with political leaders in the Kurdistan Region, President Nechirvan Barzani visited the headquarters of three political parities in Erbil on Tuesday, including the Kurdistan Workers...

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presidency.gov.krd
PM Masrour Barzani meets with US ambassador to Iraq

Prime Minister Masrour Barzani met with US ambassador to Iraq Mathew Tueller on Monday to review the latest developments in Iraq and the region. Both sides emphasized the importance of ...

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gov.krd
PM Barzani discusses ISIS resurgence with special US envoy

Prime Minister Masrour Barzani met with a delegation on Wednesday led by John Godfrey, the acting U.S. special envoy for the Global Coalition against ISIS. Prime Minister Barzani...

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gov.krd
PM Masrour Barzani meets with Belgian counterpart

Prime Minister Masrour Barzani met with Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo on Wednesday to discuss bilateral relations and security obstacles facing the Kurdistan Region. Prime Minister Barzani...

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gov.krd
PM Masrour Barzani meets with his Greek counterpart

Prime Minister Masrour Barzani on Friday met with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis in Athens to discuss bilateral ties and developments in the region. Prime Minister Barzani addressed the long-standing ...

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gov.krd
PM Masrour Barzani meets with his Flanders counterpart

Prime Minister Masrour Barzani met with Flemish Minister-President Jan Jambon on Wednesday to discuss ties between the Kurdistan Region and Flanders. Prime Minister Barzani addressed the ninth cabinet's...

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gov.krd
PM Barzani meets with deputy executive director of UNFPA

Prime Minister Masrour Barzani on Monday met with United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Deputy Executive Director, Ib Petersen, to discuss population development in the region. Prime...

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gov.krd
New agricultural project to create more than 500 jobs

Prime Minister Masrour Barzani on Thursday laid the foundation stone of a potato production factory in Duhok, set to provide 500 jobs and make use of local potato product.

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gov.krd
Council of Ministers discusses 2021 financial report

Prime Minister Masrour Barzani on Wednesday led a meeting in which the Council of Ministers discussed this year's financial data. Finance Minister Awat Sheikh Janab addressed the...

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gov.krd
DPM discusses Economic Diversification with Officials

Deputy Prime Minister Qubad Talabani on Tuesday met with the customs offices directors and the heads of the trade banks to discuss diversifying sources of income. The Deputy Prime...

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gov.krd
DPM discusses private sector investments with US delegation

Deputy Prime Minister Qubad Talabani today met with a US delegation headed by the US Consul General in Erbil, Rob Waller, to discuss economic growth through the development of the...

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gov.krd
Deputy Prime Minister Talabani launched KRG Service Portal

Deputy Prime Minister Qubad Talabani today chaired a cabinet meeting to discuss the latest efforts to reduce bureaucratic obstacles and streamline the delivery of public services in...

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gov.krd
KRG launches social media campaign to promote transparency

The Department of Media and Information is responsible for ensuring effective communication about the activities of the Kurdistan Regional Government to citizens, local and international media, and other stakeholders.

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gov.krd
Speaker Rewaz Faiq meets with US Consul General Waller

Kurdistan Parliament Speaker Dr. Rewaz Faiq on 15 June met with the US Consul General in Kurdistan Region Mr. Rob Waller, who visited at the Speaker's request. Several MPs took part in the meeting: Dr. Bizhar Kochar (KDP), the ...

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www.parliament.krd
Speaker Faiq meets with Head of UNAMI regional office

Kurdistan Parliament Speaker Dr. Rewaz Faiq on 22 June met with Mr. Ricardo Rodriguez, the Head of UNAMI's regional office in Erbil. The latest political developments and the next Iraqi elections were discussed.

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www.parliament.krd
KP Legislative Committee meets with Yazda and UNITAD

Kurdistan Parliament's Legislative Committee on 16 June held a meeting with UNITAD and Yazda, a multi-national Yazidi NGO, to discuss the Bill on the Special Court in Kurdistan Region - Iraq for Crimes by ISIS. Ms. Natia...

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www.parliament.krd
Speaker Rewaz Faiq meets with head of Chaldean League

Kurdistan Parliament Speaker Dr. Rewaz Faiq on 23 June met with Mr. Safa Sabah Hindi, the head of the Chaldean League, and his staff. MP Janan Jabar Boya (National Union Coalition) participated in the meeting.

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www.parliament.krd
Joint committee discuss findings of visits to border areas

The Parliament joint committee formed to look into the impact of the Turkey-PKK conflict on the borders of Duhok province, in Zakho and Amedi districts, met to discuss their findings and draft their report.

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www.parliament.krd
Kurdistan in the Media
KRG authorities warn of rising drug use in Kurdistan Region

According to the Kurdistan Region's Anti-Narcotics Directorate, more than 80 kilograms of drugs have been seized by authorities at the Haji Omaran border crossing with Iran so far this year. Additionally, in 2020, 550 kilograms of drugs were seized in the Kurdistan Region, and 1,133 drug dealers were arrested.
Col. Williams talks about unification of Kurdistan's Peshmerga forces
 
Colonel David Williams, the Director of the Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve (CJTF-OIR) Kurdistan Coordination Center (KCC), speaks with Kurdistan 24 TV about the unification of the Kurdistan Region's Peshmerga forces.
Human rights organization monitors destruction of border villages

The Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) visited villages in Duhok province's border areas on Sunday to monitor the destruction (of) caused by (Turkish) Turkey's cross-border incursions. The organization focuses on violence-reduction and human rights in Iraq and the Kurdistan Region. They collect data about the area and deliver it to international organizations.
Villagers say evacuated homes in Duhok are looted, damaged

Six months after they fled their homes in northern Duhok because of clashes between the Turkish army and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), a group of villagers returned and found their homes had been looted, their belongings stolen or destroyed.
Turkish Operation Increases Conflict Among Kurds in Iraq

In recent weeks, Turkey has intensified its military operation against the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) bases in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, leading...

Iraqi PM: Opposition to sending Kurdistan's budget is campaign ploy

 Iraq’s Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi described opposition to sending the Kurdistan Region’s share of the budget as a campaign strategy, reiterating...

US condemns drone attack on Erbil in Kurdistan Region, Iraq

The attack took place the same day that pro-Iranian militias, called Popular Mobilization Units, held a parade showing off their weapons in Baghdad...

Joe Reeder: Kurdistan Region is ‘red line’ for the US

The Kurdistan Region is a “red line” for the United States, Joe Reeder, former Undersecretary of the Army, told Kurdistan 24 last week...

Iraq rejects Kurdish attempts to establish court for ISIS crimes

Iraq’s Federal Supreme Court has rejected calls to establish a criminal court in Erbil to try Islamic State (ISIS) suspects...

Potato harvest has started in Iraq and Kurdistan region

As the potato harvest in Iraq has started, staff of the Beirut Erbil Potato Processing Company - known for their potato chip brands Mito and Mr. Krisper...

The exodus of Mustafa Barzani and his companions to the Soviet Union kept Kurdish freedom alive

Seventy-four years ago General Mustafa Barzani and his companions began what may be the most important march in the struggle for Kurdish freedom...

UAE Red Crescent rolls out second dose of COVID vaccine to refugees in Kurdistan Region

The United Arab Emirates Red Crescent has begun administering the second dose of COVID-19 vaccines to displaced Iraqis and refugees in the Kurdistan...

UN-Habitat and KRG officials meet to discuss urban development initiatives 

UN-Habitat’s Executive Director (ED), Maimunah Mohd Sharif, met with H.E. Mr. Sasan Awni, Minister of Municipalities and Tourism of Kurdistan...

Turkish air strike kills at least three in refugee camp in Iraq

A Turkish air strike killed at least three people on Saturday at a camp for displaced people in northern Iraq, said Rashad Kelali, a Patriotic Union...

Turkey accused of 'stealing' trees in Iraqi Kurdistan logging campaign

Alleged deforestation campaign by Turkish army in Iraqi Kurdistan's border areas has caused public uproar and raised concern the environment is...

Chicago's Documentary Film Festival screens a movie about Yezidis

The Chicago Documentary Film Festival this month screened Sabaya, a documentary about the rescue of Yezidi women held by ISIS in a camp in Syria...

A Kurdish winemaker’s journey from Manus Island to the Yarra Valley

n his first day as a free man, Farhad Bandesh poured himself a glass of wine. It was 11 December 2020, his 40th birthday, and after seven-and-a-half...

Kurdistan Region student wins WHO COVID-19 art competition

The World Health Organization (WHO) office in Iraq on Monday announced that a student from Sulaimani province in the Kurdistan Region won the international...

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