March 4, 2016

KRG Minister of Planning discusses humanitarian and financial crises with State Dept

Washington, DC (us.gov.krd) – Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Minister of Planning Dr Ali Sindi concluded a five-day visit to Washington on Friday. Dr Sindi was in Washington to convey the KRG’s dire financial situation to US State Department and World Bank officials and request short-term and long-term financial and technical assistance.

Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Iraq Joseph Pennington hosted Dr Sindi and KRG Representative to the United States Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman for a meeting at the US Department of State. They discussed the possibilities for emergency financial aid to the KRG. Dr Sindi asked DAS Pennington for technical support in enacting financial and governmental reforms in the KRG.

With over 1.8 million refugees and internally displaced Iraqis finding shelter in the Kurdistan Region and an ongoing war with the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), compounded by the recent decline in oil prices, the KRG has been plunged into a serious financial crisis. Although the KRG has enacted austerity measures and reforms, tens of thousands of civil servants including frontline Peshmerga soldiers are 4-5 months behind in salaries.

Dr Sindi and Representative Abdul Rahman also met with Deputy Assistant Secretary of State of the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration Simon Henshaw for a discussion on the humanitarian crisis in Kurdistan. They discussed the difficulties that the United Nations (UN) is facing in providing critical support to vulnerable groups, particularly the 1.5 million displaced Iraqis. They also talked about the future of these populations in the region.

Many of the IDPs in Kurdistan are from religious and ethnic minority groups, including Yezidis, Christians, Shabaks, Turkomen, and others who suffered genocide and atrocities at the hands of ISIS. Nearly one million of the displaced are Sunni Arabs.

Earlier in the week, Dr Sindi spoke at the World Bank Fragility Forum on the international communities responsibilities in caring for displaced people.
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