First of all, the KRG – EU Mission welcomes the Council’s continued support of the democratic political process in Federal Iraq. The Council’s desire to provide assistance to the upcoming elections in Iraq and the Kurdistan Region illustrates the constructive role the European Union has been playing in Iraq.  

The KRG – EU Mission also welcomes the Council’s contribution to the discussions on disputed internal boundaries through its continued support of UNAMI on this issue. Kurdistan Region believes however that the constitutional arrangement designed in article 140, still has the potential to provide a peaceful solution based on dialogue. Moreover we believe that any solution for this issue will rely on the constitution, which was approved by an overwhelming majority of the Iraqi people. Therefore, we believe that with a potential EU support of Article 140, the EU will help the Iraqi people reach a peaceful solution based on rule of law. Such a step will also boost the confidence of the Iraqis in their democratic experience and will help to them to correct the mistakes of the past in a peaceful way.

The KRG – EU Mission welcomes the Council’s support for Iraq’s re-engagement with its neighbours. While we support the Council’s call to Iraqi neighbours and regional partners to continue active dialogue with Iraq, we believe that the EU in general and the Council in particular, could have taken more efforts to urge Iraqi neighbours have a more constructive contribution to peace and stability in Iraq. In addition, we believe that respecting international law and relevant UN resolutions are responsibility of both Iraqi government and Iraqi neighbours and that any violations of these will not add to peace and stability in the region. In this context, the frequent Turkish and Iranian shelling of Iraqi borders should be addressed clearly since they are obvious violations of the abovementioned documents and jeopardize the democratic political process in Iraq. 

On the current state of human rights in Iraq, the KRG – EU Mission shares the Council’s view that despite progress, Human rights and the rights of women and other (ethnic and religious) groups needs to be further promoted and improved. As far as the Kurdistan Region is concerned, while we acknowledge some shortcomings, we would like to see the EU’s recognition for the progress the Kurdistan Region has been making in this area over the years. Women rights have improved while religious and minority groups have experienced full political, cultural and ethnic or religious rights. Because of this policy, over the years, the KRG controlled areas have become a save heaven for those who were discriminated and terrorized in other parts of Iraq. 

Finally, With regard to the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement between the European Commission and the Republic of Iraq, the KRG – EU Mission underlines the importance of this agreement and welcomes the progress both sides   have made. At the same time, we think that the PCA talks should have been more inclusive both in terms of issues and involved actors.