Kurdistan Regional Government - Iraq
Representation in the United States

Washington, D.C.
May 2015 Newsletter
Welcome to our May 2015 Newsletter

This month we were honored to host President Masoud Barzani and his delegation of KRG ministers here in Washington. After meetings with US President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, senior administration and defense officials, and members of Congress, President Barzani described the visit as 'very successful'. 


At every meeting and public engagement, President Barzani thanked the US for providing critical military and humanitarian support to Kurdistan. He also outlined the Peshmerga's effectiveness against ISIS and the defeats inflicted on the terrorist organization, thanks to US and coalition airstrikes.

Following the President's visit, bills in the US House of Representatives and Senate advanced which would authorize President Obama to provide direct military assistance to the KRG. Both measures would  provide the legal discretion for the President to deliver critical weapons, vehicles, and training to Peshmerga Forces. We are grateful to Congress for its support in and look forward to deepening the partnership between the US and Kurdistan.

Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman
Representative to the United States
Kurdistan Regional Government
President Masoud Barzani and US President Barack Obama reiterate commitment to defeat ISIS

Kurdistan Region President Masoud Barzani met with US President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden at the White House on May 5, where they underscored their joint commitment to defeating ISIS.

President Barzani thanked President Obama, Vice President Biden, the Administration, Congress, and people of America for standing with the people of Kurdistan when ISIS attacked in summer of 2014. He also thanked them for the continued support to the Peshmerga and the air strikes against ISIS.

President Barzani meets with US Vice President Joe Biden and top US officials in Washington


President Masoud Barzani was hosted on May 6 for a second meeting with US Vice President Joe Biden at the Vice President's residence in Washington.

President Barzani and Vice President Biden discussed in further detail the partnership between Kurdistan Region and the United States against ISIS. They reiterated their commitment to defeating ISIS and helping the displaced.


Read a press release on the meeting with VP Biden here.

Read the White House's readout of the meeting here. 

President Barzani meets with US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter and Pentagon officials

President Masoud Barzani and his delegation met with US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter, General Martin Dempsey, and other top officials from the Department of Defense and Department of State on May 7 to discuss cooperation between the KRG and the US-led coalition in the fight against ISIS.

The President thanked the officials for coming to aid of Kurdish Peshmerga Forces with airstrikes in August, which prevented ISIS from making further gains into Kurdistan, and for the continuing commitment of air strikes and humanitarian support by the US and its coalition partners.

President Barzani conducts meetings with key US Senate committees

President Masoud Barzani and his delegation updated members of the Senate Armed Services and Foreign Relations committees, as well as with Senate Leadership, on the fight against ISIS, the relationship between Erbil and Baghdad, and the humanitarian and financial crises facing Kurdistan. 

The President thanked the Congress for the US' continuing military and humanitarian support, and for their efforts in creating the legal framework for the US to deliver weapons directly to the KRG. He said that heavy weaponry was necessary for the Peshmerga to continue to degrade ISIS and in defending the front line from devastating suicide attacks. 

President Barzani addresses Kurdish-American community


President Masoud Barzani gave a speech to over 600 members of the Kurdish-American community on May 9, delivering readouts of his meetings with US government officials and updates from Kurdistan.


The President also responded to questions from the community on Kurdish prospects for independence, US-KRG relations, and how the community can further advocate for Kurdistan.


Gazprom raises its investment in the Kurdistan Region

KRG Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani yesterday received a delegation from the Russian Federation that included President Vladimir Putin's Envoy to the Middle East and Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov, Chairman of Gazprom Neft, Alexander Dyukov, and Deputy Energy Minister, Yuri Sentyurin.

The Chairman of Gazprom Neft, Mr. Dyukov, expressed his satisfaction with the level of cooperation his company receives from the KRG, and especially the Ministry of Natural Resources. He announced that Gazprom Neft plans to raise the volume of his company's investment in the Region.

Kurdistan Parliament gives support to KRG oil policy

Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani, Deputy Prime Minister Qubad Talabani, and a number of KRG ministers visited the Kurdistan Parliament on May 14 to discuss the latest developments in the implementation of the agreement, reached last December, between the KRG and the Federal Government of Iraq on budgetary and oil export issues.

Prime Minister Barzani said, 'We have abided by the agreement and have exported the quantity of oil defined in the agreement, but in return Baghdad has not sent Kurdistan Region's budget as agreed.' He added, 'The Kurdistan Region has other options, but we want to give a chance to Baghdad and settle the issue through dialogue.'

Ministry of the Interior launches Crisis Coordination and Disaster Preparedness Center

The KRG Ministry of the Interior inaugurated its Joint Crisis Coordination Center (JCC). Minister Karim Sinjari said that the Center will 'enable the KRG and its Ministries, Governorates, and international partners to respond to the current overwhelming humanitarian emergency and future natural and man-made crises in a timely and efficient manner.'

Several international donor partners and the United Nations have extended support to the KRG to build the Center's response and coordination capacity.

Follow @JCCKRG and @duty_jccc for updates from the Crisis Coordination and Disaster Preparedness Center.
President Masoud Barzani meets US General Lloyd Austin in Erbil

President Masoud Barzani held a meeting with a United States military delegation headed by General Lloyd Austin, Commander of the United States Central Command. General Austin and President Barzani spoke of the President's latest visit to Washington and ways to further strengthen the bilateral relations between the United States and the Kurdistan Region.

President Barzani and General Austin also spoke of the latest developments in Iraq, especially in Anbar province. The two sides agreed on the need to clear ISIS terrorists from Ramadi and other areas of Anbar.

President Barzani meets Canadian Prime Minister Harper in Erbil


President Masoud Barzani received Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his accompanying delegation in Erbil on May 2.

President Barzani expressed his gratitude for the role Canada is playing in the current war against ISIS. Prime Minister Harper commended the Kurdistan Region's military victories against ISIS terrorists and stressed that the support for the Kurdistan Region by the international community will continue.


Read a press release on the meeting here. 

Vatican calls for further assistance to the Kurdistan Region

Kurdistan Regional Government Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani received Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, the Prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, and his accompanying delegation.

Cardinal Sandri said that in his visits to Christian refugee camps he has encouraged the refugees to be resilient and stay in their country. Meantime, he is calling on the international community, international organisations, and United Nation agencies to further assist IDPs and the Kurdistan Region.

'Ranji Shahidan' campaign raises millions to support families of martyred Peshmerga

Through Ranji Shahidan, a campaign to raise money and support for the families of Peshmerga soldiers martyred in the fight against ISIS, locals in Kurdistan have raised $16.8 million, found 65 residences, and formed 320 scholarships for their children. 

To date, over 1,200 Peshmerga have given their lives protecting Kurdistan from ISIS terrorists. Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani and Deputy Prime Minister Qubad Talabani have both expressed their support for the campaign. 

Congress convenes full committee hearing on ISIS' persecution of religious minorities 


The House Foreign Affairs Committee convened on May 17 for a full committee hearing on ISIS' persecution and genocide of religious minorities in Iraq and Syria. Witnesses described ISIS atrocities and the effect that the destruction of cultural heritage will have on the future of the region.


Expert testimonies were delivered by antiquities expert Dr Katharyn Hanson, NGO founder Jacqueline Isaac, Director of Interfaith Peacebuilding at GMU Hind Kabawat, and Sister Diana Momeka of the Dominican Sisters in Mosul. 


Watch a video of the hearing here.

Kurdistan Region needs further support for IDPs and refugees

The KRG has been struggling to provide adequate humanitarian assistance to an overwhelming number of displaced Iraqis and Syrian refugees.

Director General for Capital Investment and Budget in the KRG Ministry of Planning, Mr Zagros Fattah, said that the financial burden on the KRG has increased dramatically and it is struggling to provide adequate assistance to over 1.6 million displaced Iraqis and Syrian refugees. He warned that additional IDPs are anticipated as military efforts are taken to liberate Mosul and other places currently under ISIS. 

President Barzani briefs political leaders on outcome of visit to Washington DC

President Masoud Barzani met with the leaders and representatives of Kurdistan Region's political parties to brief them on the outcome of his successful official visit to Washington, DC.

A statement issued following their meeting said that, "In their meetings with the US President and Vice President, President Barzani and his accompanying delegation were encouraged by the support pledged for the Kurdish people and for the understating towards the policy of self-determination pursued by the Kurdish people. Although defeating ISIS is the priority, the people of Kurdistan have the right to explore the possibility of self-determination. The meeting described this visit as the most successful official visit by the Kurdistan Region Presidency."

Prime Minister Barzani and UN Special Representative to Iraq Kubis discuss KRG oil agreement with Baghdad

Kurdistan Region Prime Minister received United Nations Special Representative for Iraq, Jan Kubis and his accompanying delegation on May 25.

The meeting focused on the agreement, signed last December, between KRG, and the Federal Government of Iraq on oil export and budget, as well as Iraq's 2015 Budget Law. It highlighted Kurdistan Region's commitment to the agreement.

KRG in the media


Interview with President Masoud Barzani

CNN International - Christiane Amanpour


Interview with President Masoud Barzani



President Barzani's discussion with Jerry Seib

Council on Foreign Relations


President Barzani speech and discussion with Amb. William Taylor

Atlantic Council


A Big Win for the Kurds in Washington

Al Jazeera - Michael Knights


Interview with President Barzani [in Kurdish]

Voice of America Kurdish Service


Report on President's visit to Washington [in Kurdish]
Kurdistan TV


Interview with Peshmerga Minister Mustafa Sayid Qadir [in Kurdish]



Interview with President Barzani [in Kurdish]