July 14, 2016

KRG welcomes US Congress support for Peshmerga and Kurdistan Region

Washington, DC, USA (us.gov.krd) – The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) applauds two bipartisan initiatives in the United States Congress that recognize the Peshmerga’s important role in defeating ISIS and Kurdistan’s efforts to provide sanctuary to thousands of persecuted religious and ethnic minorities who have faced genocide in Iraq.

On July 7, 2016, the US Senate passed Senate Resolution 340, sponsored by Senator Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, which expresses ‘the sense of the Senate that the atrocities perpetrated by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) against religious and ethnic minorities in Iraq and Syria include war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide.’ The resolution praises the KRG for its efforts in providing shelter to those in need, stating, ‘the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, the Lebanese Republic, the Republic of Turkey, and the Kurdistan Regional Government in Iraq are to be commended for, and supported in, their efforts to shelter those fleeing violence from ISIL and other combatants until they can safely return to their homes in Iraq and Syria’ The House of Representatives’ version of the resolution was passed in December 2015.

This legislation comes just months after formal recognition of genocide by the US government. Secretary of State John Kerry formally declared that genocide is occurring in Syria and Iraq in March, and asked for international cooperation on next steps, including ‘efforts to collect, document, preserve, and analyze the evidence of atrocities, and… to see that the perpetrators are held accountable.’

KRG Representative to the United States Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman said, ‘The people and government of the Kurdistan Region have welcomed with open arms and are currently caring for approximately 1.8 million refugees and displaced people who have fled violence in Iraq and Syria. This legislation is a welcomed step and we will continue to push for assistance to ensure proper evidence collection and documentation to be used for future prosecution of those who have committed these atrocities.’

Senate Concurrent Resolution 41 sponsored by Republican Senator Joni Ernst of Iowa and Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer of California passed the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on July 14, 2016. The non-binding resolution recognizes the Peshmerga as ‘vital partners’ and ‘one of the most effective fighting forces in the military campaign against ISIS.’ It calls for the Peshmerga to ‘receive all weapons and equipment that the United States, by, with, and through the Government of Iraq, agrees to provide in an expeditious and in a timely manner.’

KRG Representative Abdul Rahman said, ‘We thank Senators Ernst and Boxer for their support, leadership on this resolution and recognition of the sacrifices made by the Peshmerga. The Peshmerga are the most effective force on the ground combating ISIS and we are grateful to the United States who continues to be a critical partner in our fight against ISIS.’
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