President Barzani attends 33rd anniversary of PUK | |
In the name of Allah, most gracious, most merciful.

His Excellency Jalal Talabani, the president of Federal Iraq and the General Secretary of Patriotic Union of Kurdistan.

Distinguished guests and attendees.

On the occasion of the 33rd anniversary of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan’s founding, I am pleased to warmly congratulate your Excellency and all members of the PUK.

After the 1975 setback, a new situation emerged for all, as the enemies of the Kurdish people attempted to eliminate all the people of Kurdistan, their heritage, history and culture. It was during those hard days that the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan was founded, along with many other Kurdish organizations. The Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) reorganized itself at this time too.

Through the determination of the Kurdish freedom fighters, the attempts of the Kurdish enemies were aborted. Tributes must be paid to the sacrifices of those freedom fighters, for as you see, we are living in a free Kurdistan Region because of their sacrifices.

Dear sisters and brothers, comrades, the members of PUK, I would like to tell you that your struggle for freedom is highly appreciated. And I also would like to salute and honor those who have lost their lives for the freedom of our Kurdistan Region and pray for their souls.

At the time when differences existed between the PUK and the KDP, some people thought that the PUK’s existence was not in the interest of the KDP or vise verse. It must be clear that things have changed; PUK's failure is the KDP’s failure, and vice versa.

Throughout our history, we have experienced many hardships, the most difficult one being our civil war which we experienced as have other peoples all around the world. I wish it had never happened. Thankfully, it occurred and ended prior to Saddam Hussein's downfall and has become a lesson for all of us.

From experience, we have found out that great national gains are obtainable when the Kurdish community and parties enjoy a period of coexistence and understanding, especially between the PUK and KDP. On the basis of this conviction, His Excellency Jalal Talabani and I, as well as the leadership of PUK and KDP, worked for a long time to reach the strategic agreement that was signed between both parties. I clearly state to the members of both parties that anyone who thinks differently to the terms of the signed agreement is not welcomed in either party.

With respect to all the forces and parties that participated in the struggle for freedom, I see that the cohesion and understanding between PUK and KDP has influence upon the situation all over Iraq. I therefore call upon all to back the government in order to make our relations increasingly better as we work together for enhanced relations between all parties in the interest of the Kurdistan Region and a federal Iraq.

As you know, the PUK and KDP had a basic role prior to the former regime’s downfall, and ever since, they have played a significant role in the political process in Iraq along with many other political parties. We have been playing a positive role and we are determined to continue playing the same role to establish a federal, democratic and pluralistic Iraq.

I again salute and honor the PUK and other parties’ freedom fighters who have lost their lives for our freedom, and I salute those who lost their lives during the civil war or rather the internecine war. They are too close to us, and we see their families and relatives as our own. I always say that we feel ashamed of what happened.

Those who were the victims of the civil war always remind us of the black days in our past and we will always ask them to forgive us. I think the best way to get their forgiveness is to maintain our brotherhood and cohesion and to continue to benefit from our experience of the past in order to secure a better future.

Dear attendees, we sometimes find some people saying that the PUK and KDP are thirsty for gaining power. The PUK and KDP, along with other parties, have fought for a long time to gain the freedom for the Kurdistan Region, and I cannot convince myself that those freedom fighters who struggled and sacrificed for the freedom of their people are thirsty for gaining power.

Thanks to the efforts made by the PUK and KDP, a positive environment has come to exist where our people can freely make such decisions. It is true that PUK and KDP are in power while ruling the Kurdistan Region, but they have been elected by the people to hold this responsibility and people can take this responsibility away from them.

Those who only evaluate the PUK and KDP for their shortcomings are passing an unfair judgment. Our parties are in power and we must, and do, claim responsibility of any shortcomings, but the whole picture should be examined and our many achievements should be mentioned too.

We should not just dwell on our past, but we must think about and look towards our future; there is still to much work to be done. Many challenges lie ahead like Article 140 of the Iraqi constitution, the war on terrorism, the security situation in Iraq, establishing the federal system, the position of, and relations with, the neighboring countries, and the position of the allied countries and the United States especially after the coming presidential elections. All of these are vital challenges and we have to be ready to deal with them through strengthening our unity, brotherhood and understanding.

Once again, I would like to congratulate president Talabani and all members of the PUK.

With the help of God and working hard together, our dreams can come true and much will be achieved in the future for our people.

Lastly, I would like to congratulate the city of Sulaimaniya on the opening of this great building

Thank you