May 7, 2015

President Barzani’s remarks at reception hosted by the US-Kurdistan Business Council and the US Chamber of Commerce

Washington, DC, US – ( – Below is a transcript of remarks by President Barzani at a reception hosted by the US-Kurdistan Business Council and the US Chamber of Commerce on May 5, 2015.

Ladies and gentlemen, distinguished guests, it’s my pleasure and privilege to be here, to have this opportunity. I would also like to thank the US Chamber of Commerce and US Kurdistan Business Council for providing me with this opportunity to be here among you, to meet a number of Kurds from different parts of Kurdistan whom I have not met in the past period and also to meet some American friends—those who have been in Kurdistan and it has been some time that I have not met them. I am pleased to have this opportunity to have you all (9)

Today I had the opportunity to meet with His Excellency President Obama, His Excellency Vice President Biden at the White House. I conveyed the gratitude and the appreciation of the people of Kurdistan for the support that was provided for Kurdistan at the very critical time. I would like to take this opportunity again to express the appreciation of the people of Kurdistan to the President of the United States and to the people of the United States for the support they have provided.

I would like to communicate this message to the people of Kurdistan that our meeting at the White House was very successful. It’s true that Kurdistan has faced a lot of challenges, especially in confronting that most brutal of terrorist organizations, ISIS. Thanks to the bravery of the Peshmerga forces and the support of the United States and the coalition, the situation on the ground has changed and the imitative is now in the hands of the Peshmerga. We have been able to clear a land area which is more than 20,000 square kilometers. We’re proud of the people of Kurdistan and what the Peshmerga has done. The Peshmergas were able to destroy the myth of ISIS being an invincible force. The Peshmergas have defeated them on the front lines.

At the same time, we’re proud that Kurdistan has become the safe haven to host and provide sanctuary for over 1.5 million displaced people and refugees from Syria, for people to live freely in Kurdistan. Although this is a very heavy burden on the economy of Kurdistan, but we felt this is a humanitarian as well as a national responsibility to provide this safe haven to those who needed it.

I would like to assure all of you that Kurdistan will remain the safe haven for all those who flee violence and insecurity in other parts. And it will continue to be the beacon of hope and also the land of tolerance, regardless of national, ethnic, religious, or sectarian background. Of course the people, to live in Kurdistan and have freedom and enjoy freedom and liberty. And of course Kurdistan will remain open, the doors of Kurdistan will remain open to welcome all the companies who are interested in doing business. And I would like to thank all the companies who came to Kurdistan and who remain in Kurdistan in the difficult times of the challenges that we have faced, because that has provided a lot of moral support to the people of Kurdistan as well.

We should all work together in order to not allow the terrorists to achieve their objectives, and we have to continue focusing on reconstruction, prosperity, and well-being of the people. I can assure you as well that terrorism has no future in Kurdistan, and we hope that working together we will make sure that terrorism will have no future in our part. The success would be only for freedom and democracy. Thank you. [END]
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