Thursday, May 20, 2010

Kurdistan: U.S. to establish consulate in Kurdistan Region of Iraq

Source Kurdistan Regional Government - The U.S. House of Representatives has approved Resolution 873, calling for the establishment of a U.S. consulate in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq.

The Resolution signifies the United States' continued support for the stability, prosperity, human rights and democracy of the Kurdistan Region, even as U.S. troops redeploy in accordance with the Status of Forces Agreement.

"I would like to thank the co-authors of the resolution and members of the Kurdish-American Congressional Caucus who supported this resolution," said Qubad Talabani, Representative to the United States of the Kurdistan Regional Government.

"The establishment of a consulate in the Kurdistan Region will broaden and deepen the already strong relationship with America. "The House Resolution states that the "establishment of a United States Consulate in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq will reaffirm United States support for the stability, prosperity, and democracy that the Kurdistan Region of Iraq has achieved."

Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), the resolution's sponsor, called H.Res.873 a "moral and practical resolution." He went on to say, "a strong relationship with the Kurdish people serves the ideals of peace, stability and democratic governance and that the "Kurdish part of the country has served as a model for democracy" since the start of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Rohrabacher concluded that the establishment of a consulate in Erbil would "underscore the great friendship between the US and the Kurdish people." Currently, consular and citizen services are only provided by the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, more than 200 miles away from the safe and secure Kurdistan Region. U.S. citizens and visitors to the Region must travel this distance to receive such services. Establishing a consulate in Erbil, the Kurdistan Region's capital, will increase travel to the Region and encourage more business investment and government and NGO missions to the area.

Seventeen countries, including European nations, have diplomatic representation in Erbil, and this year the U.S. Department of State altered its "Travel Advisory" for Iraq to recognize the safety and security of the Kurdistan Region.

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