Monday 20 November 2023

The Fourth Annual Middle East Peace and Security Forum in the Kurdistan Region

Washington, DC, USA (KRG-USA) – The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Representative to the United States, Treefa Aziz, participated in the Middle East Peace and Security (MEPS) Forum at the American University of Kurdistan (AUK) in Duhok on November 19-21, 2023. The international event serves as a vital platform for addressing instability and conflict in the Middle East.

This year’s Forum, themed "Renewal, Revision, and Resiliency: The Future of the Middle East," brought together more than 800 distinguished experts, including government leaders, policy makers, researchers, academia, and representatives from prominent think tanks worldwide. This gathering provided a platform for profound discussions on the most critical challenges facing the MENA region, promoting meaningful dialogue, and exploring potential solutions.

Keynote and plenary speakers at this year's forum included prominent figures including the President of the Kurdistan Region, Nechirvan Barzani, Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Region, Masrour Barzani, former UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, former UK Prime Minister, Tony Blair, Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, Dr. Fuad Hussein, Deputy Parliament Speaker of Iraq, Mohsen Al-Mandalawi, and Patriarch of Chaldean Church, Cardinal Louis Sako.

During the MEPS Forum, Representative Treefa Aziz spoke with Kurdistan 24, a leading news agency, about the recent attacks on US forces in Iraq and Syria. Highlighting the significance of these developments, Representative Aziz stated, “Regular attacks on the US assets in Iraq and Kurdistan Region are a major concern; and a major concern of ours.” This sentiment echoes the concerns of other top KRG officials, including Prime Minister Masrour Barzani, who has consistently emphasized the need to protect diplomatic missions and coalition forces.

Furthermore, Representative Aziz underlined the enduring strategic partnership between Erbil and Washington, affirming that the KRG and the US share "similar values, similar goals in mind.” She also stressed the importance of forums like MEPS in bringing together business leaders, opinion makers, and politicians, demonstrating the “Kurdistan Region relevant and important role in this region.”

Despite the security challenges in the region, notably from the Gaza conflict, the MEPS Forum this year witnessed an unprecedented surge in participation from individuals across the globe. Hosting the forum in the Kurdistan Region not only underscores the resilience of Kurdistanis but emphasizes the crucial role the Region plays in contributing to regional peace and security.

The increased global participation highlights the recognition of the Kurdistan Region's commitment to fostering stability and addressing complex challenges facing the Middle East. The forum serves as a unique space where diverse perspectives converge, fostering collaboration and showcasing the Kurdistan Region's dedication to playing an active and constructive role in shaping the future of the region.