Barzani seeks new ties from Moscow visit

By Harem Karem:

Putin and Barzani

Putin and Barzani

In an exclusive interview with the Voice of Russia, President Barzani has shed light on the purpose of his official visit to Moscow on Tuesday. Top of his agenda, of course, was the Syrian crisis on his doorstep and a hope to explore ways of engaging his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, to find a resolution.

During his two-day visit to Moscow, Barzani was accompanied by a delegation of senior Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) officials: including his son Masroor who is Head of the Intelligence Agency, his Chief of Staff Dr Fuad Hussain, his Natural Resources Minister Dr Ashty Hawramy and his Foreign Relations Minister Falah Mustafa.

At a press conference at the Iraqi embassy in Moscow, Barzani confirmed on Tuesday that he has granted an oil concession to the Russian giant company Gasprom. Barzani also met later that day with Gasprom’s Chairman Alexey Miller at the company’s Moscow headquarters.

On the other hand, Kurdish MP Nasik Tofeq has told the local media that Barzani’s concession is illegal. According to Kurdistan region’s oil and gas law 22 of 2007, concessions can only be signed by a council in which the Prime Minister and his Deputy and the Natural Resources, Finance, Economy and Planning ministers are all present. “The president has no legal rights to sign such concession,” said Ms Tofeq. “In fact, we in parliament were unaware of his visit to Russia”.

Other items on Barzani’s Moscow agenda were strengthening economic ties and cultural cooperation, while encouraging Russian companies to move to Kurdistan.

The president was also due to meet Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov and other Russian government officials during his stay in Moscow. Barzani told the Voice of Russian (Kurdish) that his government is willing to purchase defense equipment from Russia, should the Russian government consider the cooperation. Barzani stressed that he does not oppose the sale of weapons to Iraq so long as they are not used against its own people.

Another important item on Barzani’s agenda was to visit his father’s old apartment in St Petersburg, where Mustafa Barzani stayed in exile during the 1950s. At a press conference, Barzani said that while it took him three hours to fly from Hawler (Erbil) to Moscow, it had taken his father 53 days.

Copyright © 2013

One Response to Barzani seeks new ties from Moscow visit
  1. […] of Masoud Barzani, the current President of Iraqi Kurdistan. In February 2013, the younger Barzani paid an official visit to Moscow where he was greeted warmly and met with Putin, Lavrov, and others.  His “independent” […]

Leave a Reply

Wanting to leave an <em>phasis on your comment?

Trackback URL