• Saturday, 13 August 2022

President Nechirvan Barzani: Preserving peace and stability brings us all together

President Nechirvan Barzani: Preserving peace and stability brings us all together

President Nechirvan Barzani delivered a speech at the “Peace Through Moderation II” conference held in Erbil on Monday. The conference was organized by the Dutch Spark organization, with the assistance of the Consulate General of the Netherlands in Erbil. A number of foreign ministers, consul generals and diplomats, international analysts, experts and university professors attended and took part in the meeting. The following is a readout of the President’s speech:

Distinguished guests,
Ladies and gentlemen,
Good morning,
And welcome all.

I am pleased to participate in this conference together with you today. I would like to thank the Dutch Spark Organization and everyone who contributed to the organization of this conference. This is a good opportunity to exchange ideas on an important issue, about peace, and (Moderation as a Pathway to Peace). Thank you all.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

While our world today faces a number of different challenges and crises, peace is more necessary than ever. The consequences of the coronavirus, especially in the economic field, terrorism and extremism, wars and conflicts, political and geopolitical conflicts, using violence, force and weapons, attempts to impose one’s hegemony, and so on and so forth, are on the verge of placing the world peace under real threats. Events and developments are such that a painful question is occupying the minds of most of humanity:

Is the world heading towards another war between the great powers?!

In such a situation, perhaps for few other places on earth, the maintenance of peace and stability is as important as in the Middle East! For a land rich in so many different ethnic and religious communities, with a history full of bitterness and unhappiness, full of wars, blood and tragedy, perhaps nothing else is necessary as much as peace and peacekeeping!

If we take Iraq as a small example of the Middle East, we see that peace and stability to Iraq itself is as important as it is to the wider region! Throughout the history of the country, the absence of peace and stability, has created instability in the wider region in general and has led to the loss of a giant national wealth. Iraq could have become one of the most advanced countries of the region and the world, if peace and moderation had prevailed in the country.

The consequences of the absence of peace and instability in Iraq have often deteriorated the situation in neighboring countries and the wider region! It has even threatened world peace!

Even without going back to the old history of religious, sectarian and ethnic conflicts in Iraq, and if we only speak about the new history of the country, we can see how much damage has been inflicted to the country and to the peace and stability in the wider region while oppression against the people of Kurdistan and its communities continued since the establishment of Iraq!

The Iraq-Iran war, the occupation of Kuwait by Iraq, the formation and arrival of the international coalition to liberate Kuwait and the second Gulf War, the war of liberation of Iraq and all the events that followed until the rise of ISIS, which changed the interests and political balance of the countries in the region, all since there was no peace and stability in Iraq!

After this bitter past, what else must happen for us, the communities in this country, to understand that we need peace?

A true peace that creates justice, trust and security! All Iraqi communities, regardless of their nationality, religion or faiths, regardless of their opinions and views, should live together in peace, solidarity and tolerance and accept each other. A peace in which the lives and freedoms of all are protected. Peace should unite all Iraqi communities in which the characteristics, rights and entitlements of all, according to the constitution and law are guaranteed and protected!

But how can such peace be achieved in Iraq?

Along with tolerance, solidarity, protection of pluralism, respect for others and their differences, diversity is certainly one of the main pillars on which peace is built.

In Iraq, including the Kurdistan Region, which, as I said, is a small example of the Middle East, we need moderation, from our personal lives to the highest levels of power and administration, including religious institutions. We need to deepen the culture of nonviolence. Therefore, moderation must be present everywhere. Especially in the family structures, in education system, as well as in political relations.

In Iraq, for everyone, from individuals and families, to political forces and parties, to elders and religious leaders, in all classes and sections, the moderation is the right and necessary path forward to peace, coexistence, to mutual acceptance and to tolerance.

In order to respect and understand each other, we must be moderate. Moderation is strength, wisdom, confidence and self-confidence, which bring peace, tranquility and stability. In a multi-ethnic, multi-religious and multi-sectarian country like Iraq, if there is no moderation, al-Qaeda, Jund al-Islam, ISIS and their tragedies will emerge: They cut off their victims’ heads in front of the cameras, cross their necks and laugh at them!

Iraq’s past, with all its wars, disasters and destruction, must be a lesson for all of us. It should be a lesson for us to move towards a better future. Towards the construction of a society that reflects and expresses the plurality, differences, rights, aspirations and hopes of its communities.

From the very beginning, from the 1920s until now, if the Iraqi authorities had dealt with the question of the people of Kurdistan in a realistic way, if they had acted realistically instead of war and using the logic of force, If they had been realistic and were concerned about the future of the country, all these tragedies could have been prevented and Iraq would now have a different fate.

Even now, in order to deal with the constitutional rights of the Kurdistan Region and all communities in Iraq, we need realistic interpretation, understanding and solutions to guarantee the rights, freedoms and peace for all Iraqis.

Ladies and gentlemen,

What is currently happening in the political process in Iraq is the absence of moderation! If the parties had shown little moderation and dealt with the situation with tolerance, the political process would have gone in a different direction. It would not have been so difficult, but when extremism prevails and makes the decisions instead of moderation, it eventually leads to the current situation.

To overcome this deadlock, all parties must return to moderation and to all the concepts that come together under the umbrella of moderation which are: dialogue, understanding, solidarity, mutual acceptance, respect for the rights of all and consideration of the interests of the state. Moderation can break down mental barriers, wash away hatred, revenge and destruction, and open the door to peace and stability.

Iraqi communities can live in peace only through moderation, tolerance, unity and solidarity. The same is true for other Middle Eastern countries and their communities. The past must have taught us that for peace, stability, progress and prosperity, everyone must live in peace. Peace and finding its ways are the common responsibility and duty of all peoples, nations, communities and countries in the region. The peace of all of us is interconnected. If my neighbor’s peace is not preserved, my own state of peace will be compromised!

A peaceful and stable Iraq and the Middle East that do not harbor extremism and terrorism, that do not become a threat to peace and stability in the wider region and the world, that do not become a threat to humanity, is necessary. Therefore, maintaining peace in the region is a common duty of the international community. Our friends in the world must help us establish peace and stability. And that is what we look forward to, together with them.

I hope that all of us in the Kurdistan Region, in Iraq and the wider region, will act on the basis of peace for all, and that the duty of maintaining peace and freedom will bring us all together.

I wish your conference success and good results and good recommendations.

Have a nice day.

Thank you