Mr Zahawi was part of a panel, conducted by Michael Howard, advisor to the Minister of Natural Resources, that also included Dr Ashti Hawrami, Minister of Natural Resources, Minister Falah Mustafa, Head of the Department of Foreign Relations, Minister Qubad Talabani, Head of the Department for Coordination and Follow up, and Zalmay Khalilzad, former US Ambassador to the United Nations and Iraq. The panel covered subjects including energy cooperation between KRG and Turkey and Washington’s concerns about this cooperation, the formation of the 8thKRG cabinet, and the impact of the humanitarian crisis in Syria.
Minister Mustafa outlined the humanitarian crisis in Syria and its impact on Kurdistan, ‘No solution seems to be on the horizon that would end the conflict. The refugee situation is very serious and we need the international community to help more and Baghdad to contribute to our efforts. I would like to thank the oil companies in Kurdistan which have pledged to help the Syrian refugees, this will make a difference.’
Addressing the formation of the KRG 8th cabinet, Minister Talabani said, ’The priorities of the next cabinet will be delivering better policies and services to the people. We want to focus on what matters to our citizens, improving the quality of our education and healthcare.
Zalmay Khalilzad congratulated the KRG on Kurdistan’s success in developing its energy sector. Addressing American concerns about cooperation with Turkey, he said, ‘I believe that the US supports and believes it’s a good thing that more oil has been produced in Iraq including in the Kurdistan Region as it is good for consumers around the world including the American people. The US wants the Kurdistan’s oil to be a net-contributor not just for Kurdistan but for all Iraqis.