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IBN: First Lithuanian Delegation Visits Kurdistan…

IBN: First Lithuanian Delegation Visits Kurdistan

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5 Traffic Helicopters Arrive in Kurdistan

The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has taken delivery of five helicopters to help control traffic, says Aswat al-Iraq.

We bought helicopters to develop the traffic system in the region and to use the modern technology to tackle the all traffic problems,

The Kurdistan Region has seen a steady increase in the number of victims of road traffic accidents.

Two of the helicopters will be delivered to Erbil, two to Sulaimaniya, and one to Duhuk, said Rizgar Mohammad Ali, the KRG’s Traffic Police Director.

(Source: Aswat al-Iraq)

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IBN: 5 Traffic Helicopters Arrive in Kurdistan

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Transparency and Integrity Board Launched in Kurdistan

Transparency and Integrity Board Launched in Kurdistan

The establishment of a new transparency board to promote integrity and anti-corruption practises in Kurdistan was announced on this week, according to AKnews.

The so-called Transparency Development and Impeachment Board will investigate government conduct, identify shortcomings and inform the relative bodies.

Husam Barzinji [Hisam Hakim Barzinji], the General director of the Kurdistan Economic Development Organization, said the establishment of the board took some months of research and scrutiny.

In Transparency International‘s 2011 corruption perceptions index, Iraq scored 1.8 out of 10 and was among the eight most corrupt countries and territories in the world, a slight improvement on 2010, when Iraq scored 1.5 and ranked among the bottom five.

(Source: AKnews)

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30% Increase in Foreign Company Registrations in Kurdistan

30% Increase in Foreign Company Registrations in Kurdistan

About 400 foreign companies have opened branches and representation offices in the semi-autonomous Kurdistan Region to expand their business in the fast-growing investment market here, Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) Minister of Trade and Industry said.

AKnews reports that about 430 foreign companies registered in 2011 to do business in Kurdistan – an increase of about 30% on the previous year.

Sinan Chalabi [Sinan Çelebi] (pictured), KRG Trade and Industry Ministry, told AKnews:

The KRG provides all facilities for the foreign companies to encourage more and more of them to come to Kuridstan. Currently, there are 1918 foreign companies working in Kurdistan in all sectors.

Of this number, more than 60% are from Turkey, with Iran and Lebanon coming second and third respectively.

“Due to the facilities provided by the Kurdistan Region’s Investment Law, more companies have already applied for registration or the opening branches and offices here. Their applications are being carefully examined.”

Kurdistan Region is the hot spot for investment in Iraq since 2003 and is regarded as one of the Middle East’s best growth prospects in 2012. According to statistics released by the Investment Board, the region has attracted some $16.2 billion (19 trillion IQD) in foreign investment over the past five years.

(Source: AKnews)

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$17m for Kurdistan’s Stadiums and Sports Centres

$17m for Kurdistan’s Stadiums and Sports Centres

Seventeen stadiums in Iraqi Kurdistan are to be renovated, and new sports centres will be created, at a total cost of 20 billion Iraqi dinars ($17m), reports AKnews.

  • 4.6 billion Iraqi dinars ($3.9m) will be used to refurbish stadiums in and around Erbil, while 991 million Iraqi dinars ($850,000) will go towards renovating Sulaimaniya stadium;
  • Around 2 billion Iraqi dinars ($1.7m) will be used to finish the incomplete sports center in Sulaimaniya;
  • A sports center worth 991 million Iraqi dinars ($850,000) will be constructed in the disputed Makhmur parish, and another one in Khabat parish worth 495 million Iraqi dinars ($425,000);
  • Approximately 2 billion Iraqi dinars ($1.7m) will be allotted to Garmiyan administration where a 1.7 billion Iraqi dinars ($1.5m) sports hall will be built.

Funds have also been allocated to Kirfi, Kalar and other areas.

The project is to be put out to tender soon, and will be funded by the Ministry of Finance.

(Source: AKnews)

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IBN: $17m for Kurdistan’s Stadiums and Sports Cent…

IBN: $17m for Kurdistan’s Stadiums and Sports Centres

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British Politicians Visit Iraqi Kurdistan

British Politicians Visit Iraqi Kurdistan

A member of the Scottish Parliament joined a delegation of British MPs to the Kurdistan Region last week in order to meet local leaders and explore ways to strengthen political, cultural and economic ties with the Region.

The delegation, which consisted of members from Westminster’s All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on the Kurdistan Region and the Scottish Parliament’s Cross-Party Middle East Group, visited Erbil, Suleimaniah, and several other towns in an effort to gain a deeper understanding of the political, social and economic realities in Kurdistan.

Stephen Metcalfe, a member of the UK Parliament, said, “This was my first visit to the Kurdistan Region and we met all those we wished to including the main parties, the Opposition and President Barzani. I can see clear evidence of good economic and political progress and will join my colleagues in our group to encourage further British trade and investment.” “I think that encouraging direct flights from the UK is a pressing priority among many issues we will be raising back in the UK,” he concluded.

In their meeting with President Barzani on Thursday, the MPs confirmed that their visit to the Region had been successful and said that they would report the progress and development that they witnessed here back to their respective governments at home.

President Barzani welcomed the delegation to the Region and said that he hoped mutual relations would develop further between the UK and Kurdistan, and in response to some of the MPs’ questions regarding the former regime’s genocide against the Kurdish people, the President said that the genocide needs to be recognized globally in order to help prevent these crimes from happening again.

In a meeting with the Head of the KRG Department of Foreign Relations on Monday, Minister Falah Mustafa said, “The United Kingdom has been one of the most important foreign contributors to progress and development in Kurdistan. From cultural events like the recent UK film festival in Erbil, to their partnership and assistance in the academic sector, to capacity building and training in the government through organizations like the Westminster Foundation for Democracy and the National School of Government, our people have benefited greatly from their presence here.”

Minister Mustafa also said that he hoped that both sides could further improve their coordination and cooperation in other areas as well. “We could both benefit from further developing our already strong economic and commercial relations,” he said, adding that the rule of law in the Region could also be further advanced through additional training programmes and institutional support.

Commenting about the visit as a whole, the APPG administrator Mr Gary Kent said, “This was my eighth visit in six years and it is good to see many positive changes. We also know that there are continuing problems which need to be tackled. More and more people in the UK know where the Kurdistan Region is and we are hopeful that they will come to the Region to see things for themselves. We were inspired by our meeting with students and teachers at a school in Suleimaniah and by news of the forthcoming visit by students from Britain. Such visits are commonplace elsewhere, but we hope that it will soon not be seen as remarkable that British business students and tourists visit Kurdistan.”

Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman, the KRG Representative to the UK, said, “We welcome this visit by the Westminster and Scottish parliamentarians as part of our continuing programme of exchanges with the UK which last year included several visits by KRG ministers to Scotland, Northern Ireland and England.”

She added, “Our relations with the Scottish and Westminster parliaments and governments are on a good footing and we look forward to building on that even more in the coming year through trade, cultural and diplomatic exchanges.”

During their six-day visit to Kurdistan, the delegation also met with a number of other officials, including: the President of Diwan at the Council of Ministers, Mr Fawzi Hariri; the Minister of Martyrs and Anfal Affairs, Mr Sabah Ahmed Mohamed; as well as political party representatives (including opposition leaders) and several local administrators. They also paid visits to schools, community centres, non-governmental organisations, as well as businesses and developments.

The visiting delegation was led by Robert Halfon MP. The other visitors from Westminster were Stephen Metcalfe MP, Fabian Hamilton MP, and Gary Kent, administrator of the Kurdistan All-Party Parliamentary Group and a Parliamentary Advisor to the KRG UK Representation in London. The two members from the Scottish Parliament were Hanzala Malik MSP, and his assistant Umbreen Khalid.

(Source: KRG)

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