Kurdistan Regional Government
TUE, 16 JAN 2018 22:23 Erbil, GMT +3

Conference on higher education begins

THU, 13 DEC 2007 13:54 | Kurdish Globe

Kurdish Globe

President Barzani speaks at Erbil education conference, addresses federal government issues and universities’ role in developing society.

Addressing the International Conference on Higher Education in Iraq, sponsored by the Kurdistan Region's Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research, the Region’s President Masoud Barzani asserted that Iraq, and Kurdistan in particular, must meet the basic needs of the Iraqi people concerning higher education and make improvements to achieve international standards and recognition.

“The previous regimes engulfed the country in war, destroyed a generation of young people, harmed scientific institutions, and discredited professors, and the level of higher education was left to suffer as a consequence,” said President Barzani during the conference's launch ceremony.

“We hope the goals of the conference will be attained in order to achieve a high and advanced level of education, so as to complement the march of the democratic process that is desired by the Iraqi people.”

The conference began in Erbil on Tuesday and ends on Thursday. Attendants include representatives from all universities in Iraq and the Kurdistan Region, in addition to a large number of representatives from international universities. Some 350 university professors will openly discuss 170 scientific research projects in eight fields.

“Neighbouring countries need to understand the role of the Kurds - that they do not pose any danger,” Barzani said. “But they [the countries] continue to try to reduce the Kurds' role in the establishment of a federal system while saying that because of Article 140 and the oil contracts, the Kurds aim to separate from Iraq.”

[KRG.org Ed: According to Article 140 of the Iraqi constitution, the Iraqi government will remedy the injustices of previous Iraqi regimes, which forcibly expelled Kurds from Kirkuk and several other towns and settled Arabs in their place to change the demographics of those areas. Article 140 stipulates that the Iraqi government will carry out a three-stage process of normalization, a census, and a referendum asking voters if they want their towns to be part of the Kurdistan Region or to remain with the rest of Iraq. According to the constitution, this process must be completed by the end of 2007.]

Regarding the implementation of Article 140, Barzani said, “The application of this article does not mean confiscation of the rights of any side; rather, it is the restoration of rights and the reversal of the consequences of Arabization.”

Article 140 “does not split Kirkuk from Iraq, but normalizes the situation to what it was before, and this is what the population will vote on in a referendum,” Barzani explained.

With regard to oil and gas contracts signed by the KRG, Barzani added, "This is a constitutional right and it doesn't violate anything. The oil and gas income must be distributed to the entire Iraqi population as mentioned in the Iraqi Constitution, and completion of the oil and gas law must be accelerated in Baghdad to resolve all outstanding problems."

The absence of the Iraqi flag at the conference was another point raised by Kurdistan's president.

“Many of you may ask why there is no Iraqi flag here, and this issue has been discussed with the Iraqi Prime Minister and Parliament. We need to press on and create an Iraqi flag that represents all components of society.

“We have asserted time after time that this flag is a Ba’ath flag and it is the Iraqi Parliament's duty to put an end to it. We are not against Iraq or any party, but we do not believe the Ba’ath flag represents Iraq because the Ba’ath Party was dissolved by law. A new flag should be determined, and then certainly we will submit to it as Iraqis.”

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