Kurdistan: The Other Iraq
Posted by jonathanfryer on Monday, 29th June, 2009
This evening, David Anderson MP hosted a reception on the terrace of the House of Commons in honour of the High Representative of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in the United Kingdom, Bayan Rahman (who worked formerly for the Financial Times, before assuming her diplomatic function). There was a good turnout by members of both Houses of Parliament, including several with longstanding connections with Iraq and the neigbouring region, such as (Baroness) Emma Nicholson and Anne Clwyd MP. But the star turn was the Minister for Natural Resources in the KRG, Dr Ashti Hawrami, who had two good items of news for those present. First, as Kurdistan is now responsible for producing approximately half of Iraq’s oil, it is a key component in the country’s security and prosperity. Second, despite the ongoing ‘Kurdish question’ in Turkey, the KRG has maintained rather good relations with Turkey — which is extremely important for regional stability.
Kurdistan likes to present itself as ‘the other Iraq’, and with some justification. A tremendous amount of economic and social development has been taking place in the region and it has its doors open for foreign investment. Indeed, a two-day trade and investment summit on the Kurdistan region is scheduled to be held in London on 9 and 10 September, at which Dr Hawrami will be joined by several of his ministerial coleagues, as well as high level speakers from the British side, including (in principle) the Foreign Secretary, David Miliband.