24.02.2014 – Sofia Barbarani – BasNews, Erbil – Last week the British Foreign Affairs Select Committee launched an inquiry into the UK Government’s policy on the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. In a move that shows Britain’s growing interest in the Kurdish enclave, the committee welcomes submissions of evidence and asks that they address a number of topics.
They are looking closely at the implications for UK foreign policy of the existence of the Kurdistan Region; the role of the UK in facilitating the development of a relationship between the Kurds and Iraq; trade and investment priorities; Foreign and Common Wealth Office financial assistance to support development and how the FCO is organizing its presence and resources in Iraq.
“This is a great step forward in our relationship with the UK,” said Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman, the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) High Representative to the United Kingdom in an exclusive interview with BasNews.
“The select committee is one of the most prominent in the British Parliament, the fact that they are going to hold an enquiry into UK Government relations with the Kurdistan Region is very significant,” said Ms. Abdul Rahman. The past year has seen significant steps forward for the Kurdish community in Britain, including an international conference on Al-Anfal last January, a palriamnet debate on the 25th anniversary of the genocide in February, a parliament debate on the Kurdish region last month and the inquiry.
“The debate was extremely positive, glowing reports about Kurdistan, they did touch on the issues that are cause for concern, but overall it was great and it’s great to have two debates within one year in the British Parliament,” explained Ms. Abdul Rahman.
The committee is encouraging groups and individuals to send written evidence by March 28th containing a brief introduction about the person/organization submitting evidence, factual information that may help the committee draw conclusions and any recommendations for action by the Government or others they would like the Committee to include in its report to the House.
The inquiry will allow for the opportunity to explore and highlight the positives and the achievements, as well as the negatives and the challenges between the KRG and London. “The KRG UK Representation in London, the British Consulate in Erbil, the Department of Foreign Relations and many other organizations from the KRG, as well as the Kurdish community in Britain, have played a very important role in the past several years in improving the relationship between the UK and Kurdistan,” she added. UK-Kurdish relations are undoubtedly moving forward and this enquiry is testimony to the increasing importance of the Kurdish community in Britain: “this is why the Foreign Office Select Committee feels there should be an enquiry. We have gained momentum and reached a critical mass, to the point that they need to know where we are in this relationship. I’m very optimistic about out relationship with the UK, I see it going from strength to strength, even at the highest level. I’m optimistic that this will continue,” concluded Ms. Abdul Rahman.