(Note: the speech was read by Minister Ali Saeed, as the Prime Minister was unable to attend).
Ladies, gentlemen and distinguished guests, good morning.
I wanted very much to be here with you today, but unfortunately I have had to change my plans due to some unforeseeable circumstances.
In any event, I would like to welcome you to the second day of this important forum and assure you that this initiative has my full support.
This congress has been designed to draw on your expertise in order to help address the many challenges that we face, and I have no doubt that this is a project that will continue to benefit all of us for many years to come.
1. Challenges facing the Kurdish nation
Never before in our history have the Kurds seen as much opportunity, nor as much at risk as we do today. The challenge for all of us is to find ways through the current uncertainties to build a bright future for all generations of Kurds, wherever they may live.
In all of the different places we live, we each have our unique challenges. Here in the Kurdistan Region we enjoy a greater level of political and economic freedom than we have ever had before. Yet, we find ourselves locked in a struggle to see the implementation of the constitutional guarantees that give the greatest hope for the future of all Iraq’s peoples.