Inauguration Speech of President Masoud Barzani of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, 20 August 2009 | |

In the Name of God

H. E. President Talabani, President of Federal Republic of Iraq

Dear Members of the Iraqi Parliament

Representative of the Iraqi Prime Minister


Representatives of Iraqi Political Parties

Ambassadors and Foreign Representatives

Dear guests,

I would like to warmly welcome you and thank you for your participation on this day with the people of the Kurdistan Region. Before I start my speech, let me talk about the terrorist attacks that occurred in Baghdad yesterday, which has affected all of us and has hurt us all. Tens of civilians were killed and hundreds more wounded. The victims are all dear to us and we were much saddened. I send my commensuration to all the people of Iraq, and the families of the dead and pray for a speedy recovery for the wounded. We are ready for all the necessary cooperation with the Federal Government for any assistance and help with the victims of this disaster. I believe that the only response to these terrorist actions is the unity of the Iraqi people and strengthening our bonds of friendship. This demonstrates that Iraq’s enemies are still at large and planning to destabilise Iraq and destroy the unity of the people of Iraq. I hope that these heinous crimes and terrorist actions will result in our unity and togetherness and further encourage us all to defend all parts of Iraq.

Many thanks to the former Parliament Speaker and all the former members of the Parliament who worked very hard. I also welcome and congratulate the new members of the Parliament. I congratulate the new Speaker and the Presidency of the new Parliament. I wish you all success. We have entered a new stage. But I am confident that together we can serve our people.

Dear guests,
I believe that having people with different affiliations and from different religious and ethnic backgrounds in this Parliament will surely make our Region stronger. This diversity will make our Parliament more active and lively. We can criticise each other, so we can work better, so that we dispense with our shortcomings and problems, not simply to criticize each other. I am certain that you will all abide by the oath that you have just taken, as this was an important oath. We must all abide by our oath and work for unity and the interests of our people.

I personally consider myself as one of you and I am prepared to listen to all kinds of criticism however strong it may be, as long as it is in the interests of the people and country.

Before the election, all parties presented their programs. Now is the time to deliver on those campaign promises that we gave to our people. Our Region is under scrutiny from both inside and outside. Our decisions and actions are under scrutiny. They are all watching us to see if we are capable of this tremendous responsibility. Yes, I am confident that, provided we are united, we can rise to the occasion and our responsibilities. Not least because a large number of loyal people have today entered into this Parliament. You are all loyal sons of this people. There may be people with varied affiliations, but as long as the goal is the interest of the people and country, this should not lead to any problems.

We are confidently striding towards the future. We must learn from the past. We must do our utmost to provide a better and more prosperous life for our people.

Regarding our relations with Baghdad, as you well know, our Parliament has stipulated that we will remain part of Iraq -- a federal and democratic Iraq. After the fall of the regime, together with Mam Jalal, we travelled to Baghdad and we demonstrated that we are keen on the unity and integrity of Iraq and on the friendship of Kurds and Arabs, as well as Kurds and Assyrians and Chaldeans and Turkmens. We now reiterate that, even though there may be differences in opinion, neither we, nor people in Baghdad must allow our enemies to exploit the situation and destroy our friendship and our freedom.

We have a Constitution. Whenever there are differences, we must return to the Constitution for the resolution of any problems. We were all allies of each other, we fought alongside each other and we sacrificed in blood together. From now on, we must also work together in the building of a democratic and federal Iraq. The special circumstances of Kurdistan must be considered. I once again reiterate that the Constitution will be the point of reference for any problems we may have. The Constitution is our weapon and it is the weapon of the Iraqi people.

We are happy that our relations are increasingly improving with our neighbours. We will do everything possible to make sure our ties improve even further. I am very pleased by the recent developments and positive changes created in Turkey. We hope that these steps are continued for the benefit of all sides. We express our pleasure with the emergence of this positive atmosphere in Turkey.
We will try everything to have the best relations with the international community and enhance and expand our existing ties with all countries for the interests of the people of Iraq and especially the Kurdistan Region.

I do not wish to delve into the details of our programs because the election program for the Listi 54[ Kurdistan List alliance formed of KDP and PUK candidates] was announced during the election campaign. This program must be followed through by the coming government. We will also try to include programs from other parties.
As for myself, I have already announced my priorities during the election campaign. I hope that with the help of God, we can deliver on the promises that we have given our people. I still have those priorities. I have high hopes that we will succeed. My top priority will be preserving the unity of our people. I also reaffirm our historical relations with Arabs. Friendship between Kurds and Arabs must be the foundation for Iraq. We are stronger through the friendship between Kurds, Turkmens, Chaldeans, and Assyrians. We must not let the detractors of Iraq and Kurdistan exploit our differences and destroy this friendship. We will never let that happen.

We will also work to strengthen democracy and freedom in the Region and try to serve our people and provide prosperity for our people.

Finally, I would like to warmly thank the people of Kurdistan who truly made us proud at this election. It is true that there were different groups and alliances competing at the elections but at the end of the day everyone was victorious. I said this before the elections and I repeat that it is not important who has won how many seats. The important thing was to show the true colours of our people to the world and we are proud of this. I warmly thank our people for putting their trust in me. I hope God will help us. I seek your support so that together we can rise to this great responsibility.

We pay our respects to martyrs of the Kurdistan liberation movement and of Iraq and all the freedom fighters in the world.

Thank you again.