21 November 2003
Oil-for-Food Program Ends
The UN Oil-for-food program which was authorized by UNSC Resolution 986 in 1996
officially ended today. This program allowed Iraq to sell oil in return for
food, medicine and other humanitarian projects. In Iraqi Kurdistan Region, the
program was implemented by nine UN agencies working on behalf of the Government
In the 13 phases of the program, the total proceeds of the sale of oil amounted
to arbout US $ 65 billion. The Iraqi Kurdistan Region received 13% of the
revenues generated by the sale of oil. During the seven-year program, this
amounted to approximately US $ 8 billion, of which only US $ 4 billion was
Security Council Resolution 1483 authorized the termination of the program on 21
November and the handover of all program activities and assets to the Coalition
Provisional Authority (CPA). SCR 1511 recognized the Iraqi Governing Council as
the legitimate Iraqi entity and CPA transferred the responsibility for the
program to the IGC. The IGC in turn turned over responsibility for the
uncompleted projects for the three northern governorates, Duhok, Erbil, and
Sulaimaniyah, to the KRG Office of Project Coordination located in Erbil.
In today's handover ceremony, Nechirvan Barzani and Dr. Bahram Salih on bahalf
of the Kurdistan Regional Government officially took over the responsibility for
the ongoing program activities. The ceremony was also attended by UN Deputy
Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq Tesfaye Maru, head of CPA - North Colonel
Richard Naab and CPA Oil-for-Food Transition Director Ambassador Steven Mann.
The management of the ongoing projects and program assets, will be the job of a
recently created office, the Office of Project Coordination, headed by Dr. Akram
Jaff. CPA has agreed to provide support with specialists in procurement and
international contracting or others as required.
22 September 2003
New School Year Starts
Today, 22 September, school bells rang for the first time in the 2003-2004
school year. KRG Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani officially started the school
year off by ringing the bell at the Gara Girls' School in Erbil.
The Prime Minister said that the future of education in Iraqi Kurdistan and
in Iraq as whole looks very promising now that the former regime is gone and the
country can introduce new programs to improve teaching methods and raise
education standards. He said that one of the first things to be done in the new
Iraq was to begin the process of overhauling the outdated education system and
introducing a system that uses modern teaching methods. He thanked teachers for
their hard work and urged students to put more effort into their studies.
He also thanked teachers for their hard work and urged students to put more
effort into their studies.
According to figures released by the Ministry of Education,
there are 2,986 schools in the governorates of Erbil and Duhok and 544,937
students are expected to enroll at kindergarten, primary, secondary , vocational
schools. Of the total student population, 308,330 are males and 236,607
are female. The number of teachers this year is 25,782, of which 15,179
are women and 10,603 are men.
In a separate development, on September 20, KRG Minister of
Education, Abdulaziz Taib held an inaugural ceremony for a secondary school in
Erbil, which has been named after Sweden’s late Foreign Minister Ms Anna Lindh.
Mr Tayib read a speech by Prime Minister Mr Nechirvan
Barzani about the extended support that Ms Anna Lindh gave to the Kurds
throughout her years in office and the immense sadness and loss felt by the
Kurds after her sudden and violent death. Appreciation and thanks were conveyed
to Ms Anna Lindh for her tireless efforts to improve the situation of human
rights on a global scale.
Present at the inauguration were Swedish Diakonia, UNICEF,
UNESCO and other Kurdish officials from the Department of Education.
10 September 2003
Terrorists Hit Erbil
Kurdistan Regional Government Minister of Interior, Karim Sinjari, said that
Tuesday's car bomb attack at around 9:45 p.m. in Erbil was the work of a suicide
bomber. One child was reported dead that night. Later reports list three
The attack appears to have been directed at US military personnel using a house
located in an Erbil neighbourhood and resulted in the injury of four Americans.
About 45 people injured in the attack suffered mostly from light wounds and many
were treated and released from hospital.
Nearby houses and at least ten parked vehicles were severely damaged by the
blast. Local police estimate that 150 - 200 kg of explosives were used.
Windows in houses were shattered by the blast up to a kilometer away.
No one has claimed responsibility for the blast.
16 August 2003
KDP Celebrates 57th Anniversary
Today, Kurdistan Democratic Party or the KDP celebrated its 57th anniversary.
The KDP was founded in 1946 by the Kurdish legendary leader Mustafa Barzani and
has since been struggling for the legitimate rights of the people of Iraqi
Kurdistan. This was also the first such anniversary after the fall of the
dictatorship regime in Iraq.
The event which took place in Erbil's Franso Hariri
football stadium, attracted over 30,000 supporters, sympathizers, and party
members. There were also representatives from many Iraqi and Iraqi
Kurdistan political parties and organizations. Major Gen. David Petraeus,
commander of US army's 101st Airborne division and ret. Colonel Dick Nabb, head
of Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) in the north, participated in the
celebrations and they both addressed the crowds.
In his speech, President Masoud Barzani of the KDP welcomed
the guests and said that, now most of the goals of the party have been achieved,
notably the fall of the dictatorial regime in Iraq. He also thanked and
acknowledged the peshmergas for their pivotal role in the long years of struggle
for freedom. Mr Barzani also thanked Presidnet Bush, Prime Minister Tony
Blair and US and British armies for riding this country of tyranny and
Major Gen. David Petraeus also addressed the gathering and
congratulated the KDP and Mr Barzani and thanked the KDP peshmergas for their
cooperation with the US military in bringing freedom to this country.
In his address to the crowd, Ret. Colonel Richard Nabb also
congratulated the KDP on its 57th anniversary and expressed his gratitude for
the founder of the KDP, Mustafa Barzani. He also said that the Kurdish
people will not be alone in the future and that the coalition will be a good
friend of the Kurdish people.
The event which was broadcast live on
KurdistanTV satellite channel and a
number of local stations, continued with some Kurdish folklore dancing and some
Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP)
10 August 2003
Iraqi Chamber Of Commerce Advocates Law Allowing Foreign Investment
Iraqi Chamber of Commerce Executive Director, Abud
Altufaili, and a delegation of Directors of Chambers of Commerce from the other
Iraqi governorates met with KRG Deputy PM Sami Abdul Rahman.
The Chamber of Commerce is advocating
changing Iraqi laws on foreign investment to reflect the need to bring more
investment into Iraq. They believe that it would be very good for economic
development, particularly as the reconstruction and rehabilitation of the
country gets underway.
The delegation is also interested in
finding ways to help local businesses get involved in the process and had
suggestions for government activities that could encourage domestic investment.
There was a good exchange of ideas at the meeting.
The group were very interested in the
progress made in the Iraqi Kurdistan Region during the past twelve years,
especially in the advancement of democratic practices.
9 August 2003
KRG, CPA and UN Discuss Handover of Oil-for-Food Program
Two meetings took place August 9 related to the transfer of assets and
activities funded by the Oil-for-Food Programme. A first meeting included KRG
Deputy Prime Minister Sami Abdul Rahman, Ambassadors Robin Raphel and Steve
Mann, and KRG Ministers with projects funded under the program.
Ambassador Mann has just arrived in the region, leaving behind a position as
US negotiator on Caspian oil and gas issues. He was formerly the US Ambassador
to Turkmenistan. Now he has been appointed to head up the Coalition Provisional
Authority team working with the UN and KRG to achieve a smooth handover of the
program in accordance with Security Council Resolution 1483.
KRG Ministers briefed Ambassador Mann about the main issues and challenges
facing them with regard to the transfer of projects and assets. The KRG insists
that projects already started, but currently halted, get re-started, such as the
major drinking water projects for Erbil, Duhok and Sulaimaniyah. Over US $400
million had been allocated for these purposes. Sewerage projects for Duhok and
Erbil also have significant funds allocated and some work has been completed;
however, much remains to be done.
With the whole country hindered by the lack of electricity, it was
recommended that projects in this sector be put on the priority list for
completion. The Dibis gas turbine electricity generating station was approved
but never started. It should be moved forward as soon as possible for the
benefit of the whole country. Other projects that provided medicines and
medical supplies were discussed because there is a continuing need for these.
The Minister of Health is to provide Ambassador Mann with information about
medical equipment ordered as well as the current status of medicines.
KRG Director for Mines Liaison Office has moved to Baghdad to work on the
national program for demining as well as the task of ridding the country of huge
quantities of unexploded ordnance.
Dr. Shafiq Qazzaz, KRG Minister of Humanitarian Aid & Cooperation, reported
that the cooperation with WFP for the handover of the food distribution has
already begun and is proceeding successfully. September’s distribution will be
handled jointly by the KRG and WFP and October’s will be handled by KRG staff
under observation of WFP so that everyone is prepared for a full handover of
responsibility by the end of November.
A second meeting with Benon Sevan, Executive Director of the Office of the
Iraq Programme, CPA Ambassadors Raphel and Mann and the new CPA team that will
be working on the handover of the Oil-for-Food program, and KRG officials was
held later in the day. Mr. Sevan described the process that will take place and
discussed the need for establishing tight deadlines so that the whole program is
transferred in accordance with SCR-1483 on time. Mr. Sevan will be presenting
the UN exit strategy to the Security Council late in October. UN Agencies are
currently preparing lists of projects under their control and fixed and movable
assets. This was the first tripartite meeting of all players that will be
involved in the handover of the program. Sector tripartite committees will also
be established quickly similar to the one set up by WFP that is already working.
Ambassador Mann introduced the team of experts that have been assigned to
work on specific sectors and who can act as advisors to the KRG and UN as
required. Most will be posted full-time to the region until the full handover
has taken place.
30 July 2003
Japan Troops Urged to Operate in Kurdish Region in Iraq
Jiji Press Ticker Service
Kurdish officials from Iraq on Tuesday called on Japanese troops to operate in
the Kurdish autonomous region in the country. The Kurds welcome Japanese
Self-Defense Forces troops, delegates of the autonomous government told a press
conference in Tokyo. The officials said they want SDF forces to operate in the
autonomous region in northern Iraq because it is a safe place. They said
thousands of Kurds have died and wounded due to chemical weapons attacks by
former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's regime and many people are still
The Kurdish officials said they hope that SDF troops provide information for
medical treatment. Japan's parliament on Saturday passed into law a bill to
dispatch SDF troops to the noncombat areas of Iraq to assist in the nation's
postwar reconstruction. The Kurdish delegates also asked the Japanese government
and business circles to support their region through humanitarian aid and
promotion of trade and investment. The delegates, led by Nechirvan Barzani ,
prime minister of the Kurdish autonomous government, arrived in Japan Monday for
a five-day visit.
Copyright 2003 Jiji Press Ltd.; ? Jiji Press Ticker Service; July 30, 2003,
28 July 2003
JAPAN PROMISES HELP FOR KURDISH AUTONOMOUS REGION IN IRAQ
BBC Monitoring International Reports
Tokyo, 28 July: Foreign Minister Yoriko Kawaguchi told an Iraqi Kurdish leader
on Monday (28 July) that Japan will help with reconstruction efforts in the
Kurdish area in northern Iraq, Foreign Ministry officials said. Kawaguchi was
responding to a request for Japan's assistance from Nechirvan (Idris) Barzani ,
prime minister of the Kurdish autonomous region in Iraq, who met Kawaguchi at
the ministry, the officials said.
Kawaguchi welcomed the establishment of an Iraqi governing council earlier
this month and explained Japan's plan to send its Self-Defence Forces (SDF) to
Iraq to take part in the reconstruction of the country, the officials said.
Kawaguchi told Barzani , a nephew of Mas'ud Barzani , the leader of the
Kurdistan Democratic Party, that the SDF will be sent to Iraq to provide
humanitarian assistance, not for the use of force in the country, the officials
Mas'ud Barzani is a member of the governing council, established on 13 July,
which brings together Shi'is, Sunnis, Kurds, Christians and ethnic Turks in
Iraq, which has been occupied by US and British forces since they invaded the
country in March.
Source: Kyodo News Service, Tokyo, in English 0453 gmt 28 Jul 03
29 July 2003
Erbil International Airport
Erbil International Airport (HIA) is ready to be used. Indeed, it is already
being used. UN and USG-supported civilian flights for humanitarian and
reconstruction staff have been arriving and departing for weeks.
Yes, HIA needs some additional facilities, but that can happen in due course.
Air service to Erbil has begun. It needs to be expanded and enhanced, and made
available to all types of travelers. Imagine!
HIA is the most centrally located site for international flights. It's about
equi-distant from Kirkuk and Mosul, about a 1-hour drive. Duhok and
Suleimaniyah are less than a 2-hour drive. Baghdad is a straight 4-hour drive
south. Turkey, Iran, and Syria are about equi-distant, too.
A 15-minute drive from HIA, Erbil City has good accommodation, excellent
international communications including satellite Internet access systems, ground
transportation, and other support services. Costs are very reasonable.
Erbil is also the regional capital where the main government offices and
headquarters of international organizations are located.
Let's not forget to mention friendly people and a very supportive government
And most important of all: security!!! Kurdistan has been, and continues to
"It may be awhile, though, before it is safe for Iraq's commercial airports to
open." Kurdistan airports are safe now! HIA is ready to open to commercial
Let's get the planes flying in and out of here. Innumerable families from
Europe and elsewhere would readily visit their friends and relatives this summer
if there was reliable and regular air service to Erbil. Commercially, it's very
viable. It's a matter of bureaucracy and commercial contracting. Nothing else,
anymore, stands in the way. It just needs to start.
As was said at the ceremony that changed the airstrip from military to civilian
status -- when the U.S. military (General Petraeus) turned over the airstrip to
the Kurdistan Regional Government (Regional Deputy Prime Minister Sami Abdul
Rahman): Erbil is the gateway to northern Iraq.
Seven More Airlines Get OK to Fly to Iraq
Tue Jul 29, 5:21 PM ET
WASHINGTON - Seven more airlines have been given permission to begin scheduled
flights between the United States and Iraq, the government said Tuesday.
It may be awhile, though, before it is safe for Iraq's commercial airports to
The Transportation Department approved applications to fly cargo for five
airlines: Air Transport International, Gemini Air Cargo, Evergreen International
Airlines, Atlas Air and Polar Air Cargo. Two others, North American Airlines and
Continental Airlines, were given permission to fly cargo and passengers.
The Coalition Provisional Authority this month invited airlines to apply for
permission to provide limited service to Baghdad International Airport and Basra
International Airport. Neither has opened for commercial service.
The airlines still need approvals from several U.S. government agencies as well.
The Transportation Security Administration, for example, must make sure that
security is adequate at Iraqi airports.
In June, transportation officials gave the go-ahead to World Airways, Northwest
Airlines and Kalitta Air to fly between the United States and Iraq.
3 July 2003
American Independence Day Celebrated in Iraqi Kurdistan
In the resort town of Salahaddin, KDP President Masoud Barzani organized a
celebration ceremony in honour of the American Independence Day for US soldiers
in Iraqi Kurdistan. All US military commanders and cilvilian administrators of
the Office of the Coalition Provisional Authority and many of the Iraqi
Kurdistan Peshmerga commanders attended the event. In his openeing remarks, Mr.
Barzani extended his special thanks and tributes to the USA and its people for
liberating the Iraqi people and the people of Iraqi Kurdistan.
"I would like to congratulate you on the 227th anniversary of your Independence
Day. America is one of the greatest countries in the world and I am honoured to
congratulate you on this special occasion. Your US soldiers and our Peshmergas
fought side by side to liberate this country from tyrrany and dictatorship."
US 101st Airborne Division commander, Major General David Petraeus also
addressed the crowd and thanked Mr. Barzani for organizing the celebration. He
said it was a big honor to have worked with the Peshmerga in liberating Iraq and
the cooperation would continue.
U.S. Troops in Iraq Make Most of July 4th
Fri Jul 4, 3:02 PM ET
By JIM KRANE, Associated Press Writer
BAGHDAD, Iraq - U.S. soldiers observing Independence Day held barbecues at bases
across Iraq on Friday and celebrated along with Kurdish allies, who are also
marking the anniversary of the establishment of their first government.
Some U.S. troops joined actor Arnold Schwarzenegger in a screening of his latest
Thousands of U.S. troops chowed down at a barbecue at Baghdad International
Airport, where the U.S. military had trucked in 3,000 pounds of sirloin, 1,000
cases of potato chips, piles of corn on the cob and about one ton of charcoal.
"I will never grill again on the 4th of July, " said Sgt. Joseph Cannings, a
43-year-old Dallas native, flipping about 40 filet mignon steaks on an enormous
grill. "My family will be eating lunch meat from now on,"
A huge line of soldiers snaked away from the barbecue pit.
"Anybody want medium rare or don't care, come on up," screamed Sgt. Ronald
Bretzke, 37, but there were few takers.
Earlier Friday, troops joined Schwarzenegger at the airport to watch his latest
movie, "Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines."
Schwarzenegger addressed a rambunctious crowd of soldiers in one of Saddam
Hussein's former presidential palaces located inside the airport compound.
"It is really wild driving around here, I mean the poverty, and you see there is
no money, it is disastrous financially and there is the leadership vacuum,
pretty much like in California right now," he said.
Schwarzenegger, 55, has indicated he may run for governor of California as a
Republican if residents there vote to recall Democratic Gov. Gray Davis.
"I play terminator, but you guys are the true terminators," he told the
soldiers, before heading to a base north of Baghdad near the town of Balad,
which came under attack late Thursday, injuring at least 18 soldiers.
U.S. troops have been beset by a stepped up insurgency in recent weeks that has
raised fears of a political and economic quagmire. Troops said Friday the
pressures of serving in Iraq — and the immense summer heat — made passing the
holiday away from home even tougher.
"I miss my family and I wish I could be there with them today," said Sgt. Jason
Bramlett of Ft. Myers, Fla., who was on patrol in the Iraqi capital. "But we
have a job to do here. The Iraqi people need our help."
Meanwhile, U.S. soldiers were treated to a grand 4th of July celebration by
grateful Kurds at a spectacular lakeside resort near Dokan, a town in the
semiautonomous Kurdish north of the country. Kurds also celebrate July 4 as the
anniversary of the establishment in 1992 of a Kurdish government, thanks in part
to a U.S.-British enforced no-fly zone that kept Saddam Hussein's forces out of
Barham Salih, a leader of the eastern half of the Kurdish enclave, thanked U.S.
troops for ousting Saddam.
"What you have done is immense," he said. "You have come from afar and delivered
our people from injustice. You came to liberate our people. Mission
Salih sent out invitations to all of the military units with ties to the north,
as well as the Coalition Provisional Authority, the U.S. and British occupation
"It's fantastic to celebrate the 4th with our allies," said Dick Naab, northern
Iraq's top coalition provisional authority official. "When you can't be home,
the next best thing is being with friends."
AP correspondent Borzou Daragahi in Dokan and Sameer Yacoub in Baghdad
contributed to this report.
Kurds, Coalition Launch Project to Build Civilian Airport in Arbil
1 July 2003
ARBIL, July 1 (AFP) The US-led coalition held a symbolic ceremony Tuesday to
launch a project to build a civil airport on the western edge of this Iraqi
General Petraeus David, commander of the US Army's 101st Airborne Division,
handed over to a group of Kurdish officials a symbolic key to the airport which
will be named "Hawler International Airport".
The airport will be built on a site formerly used by the ousted regime of
Iraqi president Saddam Hussein as an airfield for emergency landings of military
According to Nuzad Hadi, an official with the governmental committee charged
with rebuilding the airport, "20 million dollars have been allocated to build
the main buildings, in cooperation with the US Army."
Iraqi Kurdistan has been effectively autonomous since the aftermath of the
1991 Gulf War, with the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and the Patriotic Union
of Kurdistan (PUK) sharing control of the area.
The two parties allied themselves with coalition forces that toppled the
10 June 2003
Prime Minister Visits Kirkuk
KRG Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani along with a number of KRG ministers toured
the city of Kirkuk today and visited the newly elected mayor of the city
to congratulate him, his deputy and the city council members..
Later on his visit, the Prime Minister opened the Shafaq cultural center in
the city which will promote Kurdish language and culture. In a speech at
the opening ceremony, the prime minister referred to the decades of Arabization
and forced deportation of Kirkuki Kurds, Turkomens, Assyrians and Chaldeans by
the previous regime. He stressed that Kirkuk is a Kurdistani city but that
it should be a city for the peaceful co-existence of Kurds, Arabs, Turkomens,
Assyrians and Chaldeans.
9 June 2003
Iraqi Kurdistan National Assembly Celebrates 11th Anniversary
The Iraqi Kurdistan National Assembly (IKNA) celebrated its 11th anniversary
today in the parliament building. The assembly of 105 members was elected
in free elections in 1992. Among the invited guests were Massoud Barzani,
President of Kurdistan Democratic Part (KDP), Jalal Talabani, Secretary General
of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), representatives of the Office of
Coalition Provisional Authority and coalition forces command, leaders of Iraqi
political parties and a parliamentary delegation from Japan.
Iraqi Kurdistan National Assembly Celebrates 11th Anniversary
A message from Paul Bremer was read out in which he said " it is a great
honour to congratulate you on the anniversary of your parliament."
Most of the guests addressed the parliament. Mr. Barzani said "although
there are many problems facing Iraq, the biggest problem is over and that is the
liberation of the country from dictatorship."
Major General Bruce Moore (ret.) thanked and paid tribute to the role of the
Kurdish peshmergas forces during the process of liberating Iraq.
Most of the Arab Iraqi delegates addressing the assembly endorsed a federal
solution for the Kurds inside Iraq. The IKNA had called for a federal
solution for Iraqi Kurds back in 1992.