Sign In / Up

Add contribution as a guest

Your email will not be displayed publicly
Benefit of signing in/signing up to personalize comment

Comment as a guest

Your email will not be displayed publicly
Benefit of signing in/signing up to personalize comment

Login

Not a member Register   Forgot Password
or connect using
 

Email

 

Rudaw

Kurdistan

Barzani Cancelled US Trip to Protest Visa Process for Kurds, Sources Say

By HEVIDAR AHMED 4/2/2014
It seems that the protest has as much to do with branding Kurdistan’s ruling parties – the KDP and PUK -- as suspect organizations by the US, as with the visa applications.
It seems that the protest has as much to do with branding Kurdistan’s ruling parties – the KDP and PUK -- as suspect organizations by the US, as with the visa applications.

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – There has been much speculation over why Kurdistan Region President Massoud Barzani did not visit Washington as expected last week.

Some said that US President Barack Obama had cancelled the meeting. An earlier statement from Barzani’s chief of staff Fuad Hussein had explained that it was because the timing was not right.

But a letter sent by President Barzani to Obama apparently tells it all: The reason has to do with the fact that the US government has both the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) on its blacklist.

It is said that Kurdistan residents have to specify in their visa application forms if they are members of the PUK and KDP, and if they are, then their process gets complicated and lengthy.

A source close to the president told Rudaw, “When the president found that out he decided not to visit the US until that issue is solved.”

“Until the issue of giving visas to the citizens of Kurdistan is solved, I wouldn’t visit the United States,” Barzani is said to have written to the White House as he cancelled his trip.

The head of the Kurdistan Region’s Foreign Relations Department, Falah Mustafa, confirmed that is an existing issue and that the Kurdish government is trying to resolve it with the US authorities.

“In the past years we have sent many letters to the US embassies and consulates,” said Mustafa.

But it seems that the protest has as much to do with branding Kurdistan’s ruling parties – the KDP and PUK -- as suspect organizations by the US, as with the visa applications.

According to Mustafa, the US had put both Kurdish parties on that list following the September 11 attacks in 2001.

“After the September 11 attacks in New York and Washington, any group consisting of more than two members and fighting an armed struggle against their government was put on that list,” Mustafa told Rudaw.

He said that the PUK and KDP are at the third level on the US list, which is reserved for suspected armed groups.

“We told the Americans ‘you removed Saddam Hussein yourselves and now you should remove the Kurds from that list,’” said Mustafa.

He explained that the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and the US government maintain good relations and that this particular issue has to be solved in the US congress.

According to the presidential source, US Vice President Joe Biden had told Barzani on the telephone that the Obama administration is keen on resolving this matter, hence setting a date for the Kurdish president’s visit.

However, Barzani reportedly responded, “If that issue is solved today, I will visit the US tomorrow.”

Shortly after the cancellation of the visit, Barzani’s Chief of Staff denied that the president’s decision was taken because Obama had been too busy for a meeting.  “It is that President Barzani didn’t find the time suitable for such a visit, not that Obama didn’t have time,” Hussein said, without elaborating on what might be the real cause the cancellation.

According to another well placed source who talked to Rudaw on condition of anonymity, Barzani had told the US administration, “I am the head of a party and the president of the Kurdistan Region. You refuse members of my party visas because they are with the KDP, yet on the other hand you welcome me. What would I say to my people then?”

Barzani is said to have taken up the case of the PUK in his letter to the US, saying, the treatment is an insult to both parties.

The US Consulate in Erbil, contacted by Rudaw, responded that it does not reply to visa questions. 

Comments

 
Data pager
Previous
Page size:
PageSizeComboBox
select
Bave Ajnabi | 5/2/2014
I don't believe the KRG or Barzani has that much influence to dictate to the US and decide when he meets with the leader of the free world--still. It's arrogant to think otherwise. This is not a free country yet, and already the KRG is making proclamations because of "pride." Keep in mind I support the idea of a free Kurdistan--in all its parts. But to be prideful and boastful, this is not helpful at all. The US should also take off PDK and PUK off terrorist lists.
Tashly | 5/2/2014
This the case for all Kurds, The america only blocked the the two families. members,
smaTly | 5/2/2014
He didn't cancelled anything he is not allowed entry to the country,
Proud Kurd | 5/2/2014
I would ask kindly Rudaw to remove the picture of the American president from its pages untill he takes a more decent approach to the 40 million strong Kurdeish nation.
smaTly | 5/2/2014
The title is misleading, stop trying to make this a general Kurdish issue. more like "Barzani Cancelled US Trip to Protest to protest him and his party being the terrorist list"
Tags :
Print Email to a friend
Save this story
8059 Views

Be Part of Your Rudaw!

Share your stories, photos and videos with Rudaw, and quite possibly the world.

What You Say

Kurdish Patriot | 10/22/2014 10:37:23 PM
It's not all democracy. This not the issue here. 1)We must all set aside our differences and Unite!!! 2) We must negotiate a deal to work together!!!...
John Flo | 10/23/2014 12:50:08 AM
Kurds must be united to fight the common enemy. Biji Kurdistan
Divided Syrian Kurds reach deal in face of ISIS threat
| 13 hours ago | (19)
Del | 10/22/2014 11:57:32 PM
Mr minister , actually no mr liar is better suit you :) .With all these internet , telephones , satellite , how could you say such lie . You just...
NH | 10/23/2014 12:39:09 AM
Assad and ISIS are both pigs. Erdogan of Turkey is another one.
Damascus claims to aid Kobane’s Kurds
| 15 hours ago | (13)
Viking | 10/22/2014 9:11:30 PM
Kurdo hidden agenda belong to anemey of kurdistan not kurdish brother ,united kurd o kurdistan
Robledal Pedregoso | 10/23/2014 12:14:11 AM
It seems getting help for the heroic men and women of Kobane is as easy swimming in oil. It is clear that the crypto fascist Turkish Islamist State...
Kurdish presidency: Peshmerga to fight in Kobane “within days”
| yesterday at 07:08 | (11)
Don't give Daesh propaganda | 10/22/2014 7:42:34 PM
Absolutely not! No US military boots on the ground are needed and it would in fact be counterproductive. The Daesh propaganda would be non-stop about...
roberrt | 10/22/2014 11:54:59 PM
interesting comments. have any of you ever been in a war? The kurds are fighting to the death to keep their way of life, against great odds,The Iraqi...
As Peshmerga commit to ground forces, more pressure on US to deploy  troops
| 21 hours ago | (6)

Elsewhere on Rudaw

Kurds closer to participation in Iraqi government 13/10/2014 | (11)

Kurds closer to participation in Iraqi government

The formation of a new Iraqi government was a more
Jihadists control all exits from Mount Shingal, says Peshmerga official 13/10/2014 | (11)

Jihadists control all exits from Mount Shingal, says Peshmerga official

"10,000 people were still on the mountain and as more
Hundreds of European Kurds join Peshmerga and YPG 13/10/2014 | (24)

Hundreds of European Kurds join Peshmerga and YPG

"My ancestors have given their blood for us, so more
0.624 seconds