KRG delegation at the Economic Forum in Krynica

Delegation of Kurdistan Regional Government headed by Dr Ali Sindi Minister of Planning accompanied by Ziyad Raoof KRG Representative to Poland took part in international Economic Forum. It is one of the biggest and the most important political-economic conference in Europe.

This year main topic of the Forum was new shape of the world and the Europe facing growing challenges. In the opening session took part presidents of Poland, Georgia and Macedonia. Conference was also attended by prime ministers, ministers, MPs, journalists, scientists and entrepreneurs from Europe, North America, Asia and Africa. In all, this year’s 27th edition of the Economic Forum gathered record-breaking number of guests, almost 4,000 from 53 countries.

Three-days of Economic Forum were very productive for KRG delegation in meetings with influential Polish politicians- MPs of every political party represented in Polish parliament, including chairman’s of parliamentary clubs: Stanisław Terlecki from Law and Justice, Sławomir Neumann from Civic Platform, Władysław Kosiniak-Kamysz from Polish People’s Party and Katarzyna Lubnauer from Modern party.

During the meetings Ali Sindi and Ziyad Raoof clearly explained why the Kurdistan Region authorities decided on a referendum right now and what are the next steps after voting. MPs were curious about reaction on referendum in Baghdad, neighboring countries and United States. KRG representatives dissipated their fears about armed conflict and emphasized that independent Kurdistan would be a chance for credible and democratic partner of Europe, that will protect religious and ethnic minorities and will become stabilizing factor in the Middle East. Polish MPs agreed that Kurds are experiencing important and favorable moment in their history. They expressed support for Kurdish aspirations, stressed necessity to invite international observers to the referendum and presented a few proposals how to brought up Kurdish issues in Polish parliament. The first result of series of talks at the Economic Forum was a press conference in Polish parliament on September 12. Kornel Morawiecki- Senior Marshal of Polish parliament, MP, chairman of Free and Solidary political party- along with Ziyad Raoof supported referendum and Kurdish pursuit of independence.

Equally important were meetings at the Economic Forum with journalists from Polish newspapers, TV channels and news websites. It will result in articles and interviews about upcoming independence referendum.

During the stay at the Economic Forum Ali Sindi and Ziyad Raoof met Jacek Krupa- Marshal of the Malopolska Region. Minister Ali Sindi started the meeting by handing over the greeting and thanks for the invitation to the Forum from President Masoud Barzani. The Minister expressed his joy at being present at the Forum for the third time, participating in the exchange of ideas and views. Ali Sindi also thank Malopolska Region authorities for constant support especially in the field of humanitarian issues. Then he precisely presented current situation in Kurdistan Region. Jacek Krupa wished Kurds successful referendum, he expressed understanding of Kurdish aspiration, because Poland also had to fight for independence. Marshal Krupa repeated Malopolska readiness to continue humanitarian support. At the end of the meeting Ali Sindi invited Jacek Krupa to visit Kurdistan Region.

As every year. Economic Forum was a great opportunity to participate in interesting discussion panels. Ali Sindi was a guest of economic panel „National Competitive Strategies in European Inter-Regional Cooperation” attended by interesting interlocutors: prof. Grzegorz Kolodko-former deputy prime minister of Poland and minister of finance, Ingrid Brockova- Director General for Economic Cooperation at the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of the Slovak Republic as well as scientists and experts from US, Ukraine and Russia. The Minister took the floor as a representative of the country which is the external factor influencing the situation in Europe. He emphasized that Kurdistan is an oasis of stability in the Middle East, outlined the economic advantages of the Kurdistan Region, but also recalled Kurdistan’s role in giving shelter to refugees and thereby reducing their pressure on Europe. Ali Sindi emphasized that Kurdistan’s stability is in the interest of Europe. The Minister mentioned the upcoming referendum and expressed the view that the Kurdistan Region could be a regional hub for business and economic relations.

Ziyad Raoof participated in panel “political Islam in Europe: is dialogue possible”. KRG Representative claimed that peaceful Islam is possible and Kurdistan is a good example of it: different religions coexist there. Kurdistan also became asylum to Iraqi Christians invited to settle down there by president Masoud Barzani. Ziyad Raoof expressed opinion that Islam is a victim of radicalization. Again he presented Kurdistan as example of solving problem. Kurdish authorities were able to stop Islamic radicals who appeared in Kurdistan a dozen years ago, supported by some neighboring countries. Ziyad Raoof emphasized that Europe should support independency of Kurdistan because it is an oasis of peaceful religious co-existence. Minister Ali Sindi was also present at this panel and took a voice. He stressed necessity of reform of Muslim education like in Kurdistan and cutting off international financial support for Islamic radicals.

Ziyad Raoof also had his say in panel: “the world of new leaders- what would it be?” In the discussion participated interesting group of politicians, journalists and expert (among other Mirek Topolanek- former prime minister of Czech Republic). Prof. Emanuela del Re from Italy who led the panel also touched on Kurdish issues and asked Ziyad Raoof to speak. KRG Representative mentioned achievements of Kurdistan and Peshmerga in the fight against ISIS, the protection of refugees and the stabilization of the Middle East. Consequently, Ziyad Raoof called for the recognition of independent Kurdistan.