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

London, United Kingdom (uk.gov.krd) – The all-party parliamentary group (APPG) on the Kurdistan Region in Iraq, which marks its eleventh anniversary this year, held its annual general meeting this week.

Conservative MP Jack Lopresti was re-elected as Chairman. Mr Lopresti, who has been an MP since 2010, visited the Kurdistan Region in 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 and has been very committed to the Kurdish cause.

Robert Halfon MP, Mary Glindon MP, Ian Austin MP and Lord Clement-Jones were elected as vice-chairs and over 20 other officers and registered members were agreed.

APPG secretary, Gary Kent reported on the APPG delegation’s recent visit to Kurdistan and Baghdad and stressed the KRI’s parliament willingness to establish an APPG on Britain which means the two APPGs can be partners, particularly on training Kurdistani MPs. He said that this could include other partners such as the Westminster Foundation for Democracy, and also increase the capacity of civil society especially youth and student organisations.

Mr Lopresti MP stated that “the biggest aspects of the delegation were the visit to Baghdad and visiting the Kurdistan parliament and their willingness in establishing an APPG on Britain.”

Mr Lopresti also stressed the importance of bilateral business relations between Kurdistan and Britain and said “we will start working on the British and Kurdish business relations”.

Mr Halfon MP talked about his experiences in addressing students and academics at universities in Erbil and Slemani, where he found many keen to come and study in the UK but who also find that obtaining a UK visa is very difficult. Mr Halfon promised to raise the issue with the UK government.

Others highlighted issues such as refugees and IDPs, which has created a huge economic burden on the region. Mrs Glindon MP suggested “twinning” between universities, cities and other social links that would further strengthen relations between the UK and KRI.

Karwan Jamal Tahir, KRG High Representative to the UK congratulated Jack Lopresti on his re-election and thanked him and others for their continuous support and dedication to the Kurdistan Region. He also paid tribute to the RAF on its centenary and thanked it for its vital contribution to stopping Daesh attacks on Kurdistan and Iraq.

Representative Tahir briefed the APPG about the recent Iraqi parliamentary election and the impact the Kurds can have on the formation of the new government in Baghdad and said: “We are now awaiting a new inclusive government which we hope to be a part of. A government that will consider all the mistakes and tragedies that befell Iraq, a government that will be truly representative and that serves the interests of all in order to attain the last longing stability in the area”.

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