10:24 - 2023-10-04
The President of the Republic, Dr. Abdul Latif Jamal Rashid, confirmed that the relationship between the federal government and the Kurdistan Regional Government is good, as efforts are being made to legislate the oil and gas law.
The President of the Republic said, during a special interview conducted by Al-Arabiya Al-Hadath channel and broadcast on the evening of Tuesday, October 3, 2023, that there is nothing to fear from the federal system in the country, and strengthening federalism is a strength for the center and the Kurdistan Region.
The President of the Republic pointed out the importance of consensus among the components of the city of Kirkuk to form a local government that represents the people of Kirkuk, noting the support of the federal government and the Kurdistan Region for the people of the city in this regard.
The President of the Republic spoke about Iraq's relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Republic of Turkey, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the United States of America and the international coalition countries.
Regarding the amnesty law, the President of the Republic affirmed that general amnesty is for those who deserve it through the release of prisoners or reducing the sentence period, and I will approve the general amnesty law if it is approved in Parliament.
The following is the text of the interview:
The channel: “Welcome, dear viewers, to this special dialogue with His Excellency President Dr. Abdul Latif Jamal Rashid to talk about a number of internal and external files..
Hello, Mr. President.. and I will start from the internal files. The relationship between Baghdad and Erbil a year ago. 2003 witnesses, according to governments, tensions. Today there is an agreement between Baghdad and Erbil, but what are the foundations that must be correct for the continuation of this relationship in accordance with the constitutional principles between the two sides?
The President of the Republic: I think that the relationship between the region and the federal government is good at the present time. In some short periods there were problems, and I believe that they are not real political problems, nor federal or federal problems, but rather problems over some executive matters such as the oil issue, the budget, and paying the salaries of Kurdistan Region employees. But more than ten months ago after the formation of the new government, dialogue began on it by the region and the federal government, and I imagine that most of the executive problems are being resolved, and relations are good between the two parties. There is continuity with delegations from the region coming to Baghdad and exchanging visits, and we hope to strengthen relations and understandings further in order to Solving problems. These problems do not only exist in the region, but also exist in some other governorates. We hope to solve all problems, especially after agreeing on the federal budget.
I would like to point out an important point. I believe that most of the problems and misunderstandings between the region and the center are the result of the lack of a detailed law for the production, sale, and purchase of oil. Now the federal government and the regional government are serious about legislating the oil and gas law. I believe that after the legislation of the oil and gas law and the understanding between the two parties, there will be problems. On its way to a solution.
Channel: Mr. President, there are frightening reports about the future of the Kurdistan Region. There are those who say that the region will not remain unified. There are those who talk or fear for the federal system in Iraq.
The President of the Republic: I think that these are exaggerations and media rumours. In Iraq in general, we suffer from irresponsible statements, from some media outlets and social networking sites. The relationship between the region and the center is good and strong, and everyone is trying to establish important and legal rules to solve problems.
Channel: So you do not fear for the federal system in the region.
The President of the Republic: I do not fear at all for the federal system in the region. On the contrary, we must work to develop and strengthen it with the federal government. Strengthening the federal system in the region is strengthening the center, and strengthening the federal government in the center is strengthening the region.
The Channel: But there are also internal problems in the region, Mr. President, between the two main parties. There is an American report that insisted on unifying the Peshmerga forces to support the region. How is it possible to resolve the differences in the region?
The President of the Republic: I think these are also exaggerations. The relationship between the region and the center is good. Yes, there are some differences between the Kurdish parties, and they exist between the Iraqi and international parties. If there are no differences and different orientations, this means there is no need for different and multiple parties. A few days ago there was There is the fifth conference of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, in which most of the Iraqi political forces participated, including the Kurdistan Democratic Party, where President Nechirvan Barzani attended, and his speech at the conference was good and welcomed by everyone.
Yes, there are problems between parties, but they exist in the world. Some differences between parties in Europe are much stronger than the problems between Iraqi parties and Kurdish parties.
Channel: So you believe that the region will remain united.
The President of the Republic: Of course, and this is important to strengthen the region, strengthen the federal government, and strengthen the Kurdish people in the Kurdistan Region.
The Channel: Go to another file, which is the Kirkuk file. We are heading to local elections, and for the first time in years elections will be held in Kirkuk. What are you afraid of the situation in Kirkuk?
The President of the Republic: Firstly, Kirkuk, in my opinion, is the most important Iraqi city. It served Iraq with oil production and was the first city in which oil was extracted. The people of Kirkuk represent the Iraqi people as a whole in terms of sects, nationalities and sects. Therefore, Kirkuk for Iraq is a very important city, and everyone maintains the unity of Kirkuk and solves problems. Inside Kirkuk.
I think that talking about the fears in Kirkuk is exaggerated. Yes, sometimes the administration of the city of Kirkuk was not good, but after the formation of the provincial committees and the upcoming local elections, these problems will be solved, and this is the duty of everyone from the standpoint of encouraging free elections and forming a good administration to serve the people of Kirkuk.
The Channel: We are talking about three nationalities that, so to speak, are contradictory in Kirkuk. If there are elections and some blocs are not satisfied with the results, we go to a clash.
The President of the Republic: I do not imagine that we will reach a clash. The Iraqi reality currently requires cooperation and coordination between the political parties, and I am certain that consensus between the nationalities present in Kirkuk and the parties and sects is necessary in order to agree on the formation of a local government that represents the people of Kirkuk, and the support of the federal government and the region is necessary to achieve This requirement.
Channel: So, Your Excellency calls on all parties in Kirkuk to accept the results and work as one team.
The President of the Republic: Of course, this is very necessary and important for the future of Kirkuk. If we compare Kirkuk in terms of development and services, it has not yet reached nearly the level of some other governorates, and this is due to the mismanagement that exists in Kirkuk at the present time. Therefore, the interest of the federal government and the interest of the region for the sake of government A local district in Kirkuk that represents all political and national parties in Kirkuk.
The Channel: We go to the water file. There are frightening reports about Iraq’s water future. There are those who say that there will not remain two rivers. There is talk that Iraq is losing large quantities of even groundwater. What are the ways through which Iraq can take water quotas from Turkey and Iran?
The President of the Republic: The water problem is a global problem. Unfortunately, in the Middle East, the ratio of water to land area is small. Previously, the population of the region was less than it is now, and the needs of each country were less than the current situation. Unfortunately, climate change has led to a reduction in the amount of water in the region. In the region, the lack of rain and snow in the region led to a shortage of the amounts of water we need.
As for Iraq, we are fortunate to have rivers, tributaries and lakes. Our situation previously was better than the countries of the region. Now the situation is different. Our water sources come from upstream countries, and these countries have begun to build dams and reserve water in large quantities. We are working on the principle that Iraq gets a fair share and quantity of The water we need, and we have relations with neighboring countries in this regard, and sometimes we reach good agreements and understandings, but sometimes violations of them occur.
We are determined to solve problems through relations and coordination with other parties. These countries have duties, and we also have duties.
We are optimistic about achieving good results with regard to water, and we in Iraq are asking for a fair share of water and not a return to what was the situation before the construction of dams and facilities in these countries. We are asking for a fair share in terms of agriculture, drinking water and the population needs of our people. As you know, the population has increased and we need To a greater extent than before, there is cooperation with Turkey and Iran, and we are optimistic about reaching satisfactory solutions.
The Channel: If Iraq does not reach understandings with Turkey and Iran, is Iraq’s water future in danger?
The President of the Republic: The future of water in Iraq will be in danger (and the Iraqi people will be exposed to harm. I believe that cutting off water to any people is unacceptable globally or locally, and I have not heard any talk from any of the existing parties from neighboring countries about cutting off water. It is This is unacceptable and undesirable.
The Channel: There is also the issue of Iraq’s sovereignty. Turkey says it is bombing because Sulaymaniyah hosts terrorist organizations that are hostile to Turkey, and Iran says that there are organizations it described as opposed to it in the region. How do you view Iraq’s sovereignty?
The President of the Republic: I believe that the two situations are different. With the Islamic Republic of Iran, yes, there are complaints about the presence of some Iranian Kurdish opposition forces in the Kurdistan region. We have begun dialogue in order to reach solutions acceptable to both parties, as well as to protect the borders from both parties.
But unfortunately, the situation with Turkey is punctuated by violations that occur throughout the day and hours, and not only in Sulaymaniyah, but in Erbil, Dohuk, and various regions of the Kurdistan region, from combat aircraft, drones, and Turkish bases in the Kurdistan region.
We, as an independent country, do not accept this, and it is necessary for them to take into account our situation as a neighboring country. Sometimes their violations lead to the killing of innocent people and martyrs among the residents of the region, and sometimes visitors coming to the region become victims of Turkish bombing. Our contacts with Turkey continue and we hope that our situation will be taken into account, as these violations are unacceptable. From the Iraqi people and the Kurdistan region.
The Channel: You have reached an understanding with the Iranian side, but is it possible to reach an agreement with Turkey because it says that the Kurdistan Workers’ Party threatens its lands from Iraqi lands, and the Iraqi constitution is clear that it is not permitted to use Iraqi lands as a launching pad for aggression against any party?
The President of the Republic: We are against any party’s use or exploitation of Iraqi lands and the Kurdistan region, against any neighboring country in the region. This is our policy and we are clear about it, but in order to reach an agreement to solve the problem, it must be negotiated and agreed upon with Turkey, just as we agreed with Iran.
Channel: Foreign relations file, is Iraq today in an axis? How do you view Iraq's foreign relations?
The President of the Republic: We have suffered from foreign relations for a long time, and thank God now we are in a good position in foreign relations. First, our regional relations are good and important as a result of communication and the exchange of delegations and visits, and some of them are the result of economic relations and investment in Iraq. These regional relations and with the world as a whole must be deepened, as our relations Good relations with Europe, the United States and other countries, and we in Iraq seek to strengthen our relations with the entire international community.
Channel: How do you describe the relationship with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia?
The President of the Republic: Praise be to God, there is a good and strong relationship, and our goal is to deepen this relationship in all political and diplomatic aspects. We support the Saudi role in the region as a whole, and you know that Iraq had a role in improving the relationship between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Islamic Republic of Iran, and I believe that strengthening the relations of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia with the countries of the region Important and necessary for the interest, strengthening and independence of the entire region.
Channel: The issue of relations with the international coalition. In reality, the United States was the one who overthrew Saddam Hussein’s regime, and there was a strategic framework agreement between Baghdad and Washington. How do you see the shape of the relationship between Baghdad and Washington?
The President of the Republic: The relationship is according to the existing agreements, and we take into account the implementation of the agreements, but the quality of the work and activity of the international coalition differed from what it was in the past. In the beginning after the year 2003, Iraq was under the authority of the international coalition and later came under the occupation, and now the occupation has ended and we have a democratic government, and we are working According to existing agreements between Iraq, the coalition countries and other countries.
Channel: So you need advisors and training and do not need combat forces?
The President of the Republic: This matter is present in the current agreements. The role of the international coalition now is the role of training and fighting terrorism. Of course, fighting terrorism not only in Iraq, but in the whole world. We are committed to the existing agreements, and now the international coalition forces are present, not for combat missions, but for training and cooperation with our forces. We very much appreciate the support of the international coalition to train our forces and fight terrorism in Iraq.
The Channel: How can you balance the relationship between Washington and Tehran? There is a conflict in the region and it has greatly affected the Iraqi situation.
The President of the Republic: Our relations are good and strong with the Islamic Republic of Iran, and for us it is an important relationship, and we have long borders with them that extend about 1,400 km. As for the United States, we thank them for helping Iraq in overthrowing a bad dictatorial regime that threatened the region and the world as a whole. Our relations with the United States are strong and we are working To cooperate in most fields, especially scientific and commercial.
The Channel: Do you not allow there to be a regional conflict on Iraqi territory?
The President of the Republic: We are an independent country, and Iraq’s independence is more important to us than all other agreements. Therefore, everyone knows that we are working to preserve our independence, and our focus at the present time is Iraq’s independence, as well as security and stability.
The Channel: There are elections that will be held before the end of this year. The provincial council elections are important. How can the integrity of these elections be guaranteed? Mr. President, as you know, in the beginning, there is talk about integrity, and after the results are announced, the blocs object and consider the results to be fraudulent.
The President of the Republic: In most countries of the world, such cases occur. In Europe and even in America, there is a problem with the integrity of the elections. For our part, we work in cooperation with non-governmental organizations and delegations from regional countries, the United Nations, and serious supervision from Iraqi judges in order to ensure the integrity of the elections, and all the blocs. Politics stresses the need to ensure the integrity of the elections for the benefit of the Iraqi people.
The Channel: How do you view the absence of the Sadrist movement from the political scene in Iraq?
The President of the Republic: I am not in favor of the absence of any political, national or sectarian party in the Iraqi arena. My hope and wishes are that all existing political parties participate in the elections and express their opinions in a peaceful, democratic and fair manner in order to elect the representatives of the people and to serve the Iraqi people.
The Channel: So you support the return of the Sadrist movement, and you call on the Sadrist movement to return to political life.
The President of the Republic: I support all the movements, and the Sadrist movement is not outside the Iraqi movements, and at the present time they may be outside the government, but they are within the Iraqi state.
The Channel: I go to the topic of constitutional amendments. There are those who believe that even the head of the Supreme Judicial Council, Faiq Zaidan, was speaking about the necessity of making constitutional amendments to clarify some of the matters that happen in every election, such as who is the largest bloc.
The President of the Republic: Firstly, there is no constitution in the world that solves all the state’s problems. Secondly, there are some countries that do not have a constitution at all, and I say that our constitution is good and was approved by all political parties from the beginning, and until now we have been working with the constitution without defect, but in all the world some constitutional provisions need To explain, in Iraq this is done by the Iraqi parliament or Iraqi legislation, so if there are some paragraphs that we cannot implement at the present time, we must have legislation within parliament to solve the problems.
Channel: I have two more questions, the first is the issue of general amnesty. Do you support there being a general amnesty in Iraq or clarification of some matters related to the general amnesty?
The President of the Republic: Frankly, general amnesty as a word, I do not imagine any country in the world that can implement it. I believe that amnesty is for those who deserve to be released from prison or have their sentences reduced, but with conditions and the approval of Parliament.
The Channel: So you will approve the general amnesty if it is approved through paragraphs by Parliament?
The President of the Republic: Sure, because our parliament represents all political parties.
Channel: As the protector of the constitution, there are many paragraphs supporting media freedoms, demonstrations, and human rights. There are some frightening reports of a decline in human rights in Iraq.
The President of the Republic: I think that this is not true at all. Look at the number of satellite channels, newspapers, and social media pages. There is no country in the world that has these numbers. We have somewhat absolute freedom, which sometimes publishes without media responsibility.
I believe that human and individual freedom and human rights exist well, but no country in the world is 100 percent satisfied, and our circumstances and conditions must be appreciated. We have gone through years and decades of suffering, bad activities and conspiracies, corruption, internal problems, and problems with the outside, and therefore our focus now is on fighting corruption. Terrorism and concern for security and stability. Freedom exists, and there are demonstrations, objections, and articles. Some articles are published and have no basis in truth.
The Channel: But at the same time there are assassinations of activists and journalists.
The President of the Republic: This used to happen previously and not in this period. We consider it a crime against journalists and individuals, and all of them are under the auspices of the police and the judiciary to follow up on them. Until now, there are individuals who are terrorists carrying out bad operations, and they exist in all countries of the world, but the security situation and stability in Iraq now is good and we are working. To strengthen and preserve them.
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