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KRG Prime Minister Pledges Not to Relinquish Constitutional Rights

On 26 March 2024, Masrour Barzani, Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Regional Government, attended a public Iftar at a mosque in Erbil, delivering a speech. He emphasised the commitment of the Kurdistan Regional Government to resolving ongoing disputes with the federal government in Baghdad, aiming for a just solution that safeguards the interests of both the Kurdish and Iraqi people, while steadfastly upholding the Kurdish people's constitutional rights.

Here is an edited transcript of Prime Minister Barzani's speech:

“I extend my deepest thanks to the resilient people of Kurdistan for their steadfast support and trust in our government, despite facing adversities, particularly the hindrances to salary distribution for public sector employees in the Kurdistan Region, which have worsened the financial challenges. The enduring spirit of our people fortifies our resolve to continue delivering essential services.

“We are dedicated to addressing the pending issues with the federal government in Baghdad, striving for an equitable solution that respects the rights and interests of both the Kurdish and Iraqi peoples, without compromising the constitutional entitlements of the Kurdish populace.

“I must alert you to the conspiracies aimed at undermining and dismantling the Kurdistan Region through various tactics. It's disheartening to observe such antagonistic attitudes towards our region, and even more so when such agendas find internal support within Kurdistan, aiding those who wish to weaken or obliterate our region.

“The creation of the Kurdistan Region was not a gift; it was earned through the sacrifices of our martyrs and the relentless struggle of our people. Everyone has contributed to building this region. The Iraqi Constitution clearly delineates the rights and duties of the Kurdistan Region, and we have faithfully fulfilled our responsibilities towards Baghdad. Yet, our rights are continually infringed upon by the central government, with some attempts to even bypass the constitution.

“In the Kurdistan Region, we find ourselves divided between those who honour the legacy of our martyrs through perseverance and resistance, and those who, regrettably, seem content with minimal concessions, neglecting the immense sacrifices of our people. I am confident, however, that the majority do not subscribe to this diminished view. It is our collective duty to honour our martyrs and our struggle for freedom by doing everything in our power to safeguard our hard-won freedom.

“I earnestly appeal to all political parties in the Kurdistan Region to rise above narrow partisan interests for the greater good. The true benefit lies not in exploiting the current crisis, but in serving our people impartially, safeguarding the constitutional rights of the Kurdish people, and fostering unity among all ethnic, religious, and political groups within Iraq and the Kurdistan Region.

“I am grateful to our allies in Baghdad and elsewhere in Iraq who stand with us in defending the constitutional rights of all Iraqi citizens. We are working together towards a mutually beneficial resolution.

“Iraq's wealth is immense, yet its potential remains untapped because of mismanagement. By embracing mutual respect and acceptance, we can transform our nation into one of the Middle East's leading economies. Our vision for the Kurdistan Region is one of peaceful coexistence and harmony with all Iraqi communities, ensuring the rights of every group are respected. Together, we can craft a brighter, more prosperous future for our country.

“Our challenges extend beyond salary disputes; they encompass national and territorial rights. Rest assured, we are unwavering in our commitment to serve you and uphold our constitutional rights.

“In times of prosperity, we find many allies, but in adversity, we often stand alone, with only our loyal people by our side. This solidarity is our greatest strength.”