All-party parliamentary group (APPG) on Kurdistan holds its annual general meeting

“Kurdistan is an oasis of democracy, believing in a free economy, progressive in an area that is very tough, and that is why we support it, and have done for a long time.” This was the central message of the Rt Hon Robert Halfon MP, the newly elected Chair of the all-party parliamentary group (APPG)on the Kurdistan Region in Iraq at its inaugural annual meeting in the House of Commons.
The Rt Hon Robert Halfon has been an MP since 2010. Between May 2015 and July 2016, the Rt Hon Halfon MP served as the Minister without Portfolio (attending Cabinet) and Deputy Chairman of the Conservative Party. From July 2016 he was Minister of State at the Department for Education. He has visited the Kurdistan Region five times.
To marks its thirteenth anniversary this year, the APPG Group elected new officers, including Labour MP, Steve Reed, Conservative MP, Alicia Kearns, and Liberal Democrat Peer, Tim Clement-Jones.
APPG secretary, Gary Kent outlined the role of the APPG and its achievements since its establishment in November 2007. Mr Kent listed them as “the UK parliament’s formal recognition of Anfal in 2013, the UK government’s commitment to mark Anfal Memorial Day every year, as well as the facilitation of commercial ties between the KRG and the United Kingdom.”
Karwan Jamal Tahir, the KRG High Representative to the UK congratulated the Rt Hon Robert Halfon on his election and thanked the APPG group for their continuous support and dedication to the Kurdistan Region and said “The APPG has played a significant role for the Kurdistan Region and they have been very instrumental in boosting the bilateral relation.”
Mr Tahir briefed the APPG about recent developments in Kurdistan Region and Iraq, the conflict between Iran and the US on Iraqi territory, the ongoing protests in Iraq and the resignation of Prime Minister of Iraq, Adel Abdul Mahdi, and the KRG’s position amid all these tensions.
Mr Tahir stated that “Iraq has become a battlefield for the major powers to settle their differences, that has changed the equation in Iraq and the Middle East, and it has affected the relationships between all the stakeholders. For the Kurdistan Region, this situation is very sensitive, and we believe that the military means would not solve the matters. We have stayed neutral and have asked all parties to de-escalate the situation.”
The meeting was attended by Mary Glindon MP, Alicia Kearns MP, Feryal Clark MP, Jack Lopresti MP, Toby Perkins MP, Steve Reed MP, Lord Clement-Jones, Stephen Metcalfe MP, Philip Hollobone MP and Jason McCartney MP.