Iraqi Kurdistan Region PM's inaugural address

KurdSat TV, Sulaymaniyah
7 May 06

A live relay of Kurdistan Region Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani's
inaugural address to parliament was broadcast by KurdSat TV at 0952
gmt on 7 May 06.

Barzani announced his new cabinet, the reunified Kurdish regional
government, and then he and the ministers were sworn in.

Large cabinet

After he and his 42-minister cabinet took the oath of office, Prime
Minister Nechirvan Barzani opened his speech by drawing the attendees'
attention to the size of his cabinet, saying it was a transitional
setup tailored for the present situation and that in near future four
of the ministries would merge.

Barzani welcomed the guests "we are honoured by the presence of
Kurdish, Iraqi and foreign guests". He said "Herby we stand before
parliament to announce the first unified Kurdistan cabinet after the
fall of Saddam's regime. This step is a signal for a fundamental
change; it is anew record in our history.

Yet we have to remember that we have a lot of challenges a head of
us."

Cabinet objectives

He said the main objectives of the cabinet are "to serve the citizens
equally and protect every single one of them; to promote equal
opportunities, to respect social, religious and political entities in
Kurdistan; to provide security and stability; to adhere to law and
respect the freedom of individuals and groups."

He added that "we want to live in peace and amity inside the region
and with our neighbours. No one is more aware of the geopolitics of
Kurdistan than us. We know that we do not live an isolated island in
the world. We are well-aware that our future is directly tied to the
current developments taking place in Iraq. Although we live in a
troubled part of the world, but we have always been and will be a
factor for peace..."

He said "the rights that have been forcefully taken away from us in
Khanaqin, Mandali, Kirkuk, Makhmur, Shekhan and Sinjar will be claimed
back through peaceful means, within a democratic and lawful
framework. These actions will be taken in line with the new Iraqi
constitution.

He said the government would work to establish strong constitutional
institutions and to serve the democratic process, adding that
"enforcing transparency and accountability would be the main
objectives of the government."

Reconstruction

He said the reconstruction of Kurdistan cannot be carried out in a
short period after being subject to long-time destruction, calling on
the Iraqi government to compensate the Kurdistan Region for the losses
of the past and to give it a fair budget.

Education

The prime minister said education and health would be in the forefront
of the cabinet's agenda, "the education system should meet the current
needs. We will promote vocational schools of agriculture, industry and
commerce."

He said there are currently in Iraqi Kurdistan schools teaching in
different languages including, Turkoman, Siryani, Armenian. He said
that "we respect the neighbouring countries' languages. We want to
understand each other more.

We want to establish cultural, educational, art, sports, economic and
business ties with the neighbouring countries."

He stressed the need to promote English language, saying "English is
an international language; we need to learn it very well. We need to
prepare our education system for such a programme."

Water, Electricity, Fuel

"The provision of water and electricity will be the main task of our
new government. We will ensure that they are dealt with sufficiently
and proper solutions are constantly sought. We understand the needs of
our people. However, we have a lot of challenges ahead of us."

He said that the government was aware of the present fuel crisis, it
would ensure that the crisis was dealt with sufficiently, adding that
the best solution was "to develop and make use of our own natural
resources - our success in this field will make our life easier."

"We are consulting with high-level international oil companies on how
to make use our natural resources."

Agriculture, investment

"Our new government should promote the villagers' return to their
villages.

We have to work to revive our agricultural economy. We have to have
our food basket in our own hands. Economic elf-sufficiency should
become the fundamental bases of our villages. The regional government
will work to integrate science into the agricultural sector; to bring
modern technology to improve and increase productivity."

He said the government will promote foreign investments and the
private sector.