NEW DATE AGAIN : Key Kurdish National Conference Set For August 24

by RUDAW – 3.8.2013 – ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – An important Kurdish National Conference, whose aim is to gather all Kurdish political groups and set a roadmap for the Middle East’s 30 million Kurds, will convene in Erbil on August 24.

Committees set up to organize the National Conference decided the date of the conference in a meeting on Thursday. The committees will not play any role in decision-making and are only assigned to set the agenda and procedures of the conference. Kurdistan Region President Massoud Barzani met with representatives and leaders of 39 Kurdish parties from Iraq, Iran, Syria and Turkey on July 25 to discuss the National Conference. The aim of the meeting is said to be to draw a roadmap for the future of Kurds in the Middle East and build closer relations between all parties.

“The Kurds aim to say through this conference that, as a people who have gone through persecution and genocide, they have the same right as every other nation to decide their own future, based on democratic principles and coexistence,” former parliament speaker

Kemal Kirkuki said in an article for Rudaw last week.

The meeting takes place as Kurds in Syria and Turkey face major political developments, with Syrian Kurds contemplating autonomy for their areas and Kurds in Turkey in the middle of a historical peace process with Ankara.

All Kurdish parties have welcomed the initiative and appointed their representatives to attend the conference, including Kurdish opposition groups, which are currently locked in hot rows with the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) over the draft constitution and election law. “Our group has already appointed a delegation to attend the conference,” Muhammad Rauf, a senior official from the opposition Kurdistan Islamic Union (KIU), told Rudaw. Rauf said that political disputes should not come in the way of such an important conference to address the Kurdish question in the region.  “The conference has nothing to do with the current internal problems,” he said. The Kurdistan Islamic League (Komal) had announced it would boycott the conference, but it said on Thursday that it has decided together with the Islamic Union to send a joint delegation.