October 10, 2015

KRG Representative highlights US-Kurdistan friendship on first visit to Texas

Dallas, Texas, USA (www.us.gov.krd) – Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman, the Kurdistan Regional Government Representative to the United States, highlighted the longstanding friendship between her homeland and America in a speech at the World Affairs Council Dallas Fort Worth.

Ms Abdul Rahman addressed Council members and guests at a lunch on October 7 at the Rosewood Crescent Hotel in Dallas, Texas.

‘We thank America for standing by us in 1991, in 2003 and in 2014 when ISIS terrorists attacked Kurdistan and Iraq,’ Ms Abdul Rahman said. She outlined Kurdistan’s progress and achievements since 1991 when the United States and other countries saved thousands of people in a humanitarian rescue mission called Operation Provide Comfort. The United States established a no-fly-zone over Kurdistan which enabled the people to begin to establish the foundations of democracy by holding elections in 1992.

Ms Abdul Rahman described the economic boom and the flourishing of Kurdish culture after the liberation of Iraq in 2003. She added that Kurdistan was for the first time able to use its oil riches for the benefit of its people and started what became a thriving oil industry from scratch in 2007. Several US companies have contracts with the KRG, including Texas-based Hillwood, Hunt Oil and Exxon Mobil.

The KRG Representative also spoke about the current coordination and cooperation between Erbil and Washington DC in the fight against ISIS and the United States’ leading role in providing humanitarian assistance to Iraq via the United Nations. So far since fiscal year 2014, the United States has donated $540 million.

However, Ms Abdul Rahman appealed to those at the World Affairs Council event to find a way to make a donation or provide assistance to the 1.8million displaced people and refugees taking shelter in Kurdistan. Despite what may appear to be large contributions, the UN continues to struggle to raise sufficient funding for this humanitarian emergency. The event was hosted jointly by Hunt Oil and Hillwood.

This was the Representative’s first visit to Texas. She met with Betsy Price, the Mayor of Fort Worth, and discussed the needs and contributions of the 5,000-strong Kurdish community in the Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington area.

Ms Abdul Rahman also held meetings with representatives of the community, as well as companies with interests in Kurdistan including Hillwood and Hunt Oil. She also visited the George W Bush Presidential Library and Museum.
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