Kurdistan Region President Mas’ud Barzani attended the opening session and delivered a speech in which he praised Fayli Kurds’ “national and patriotic mission in Iraq” and called on them to vote for the Kurdistan Coalition list in the upcoming elections.
RFI interviewed Jalil Fayli, a delegate of the Kurdistan Coalition list in the conference.
Fayli: The conference aims at studying the situation of Fayli Kurds in general and the problems from which they have been suffering until now. There is the problem of confiscation of their houses and land, and the problem of their expulsion [to Iran]. All these problems will be studied in the sessions of this conference that will last for two days at least. The problems and handicaps from which Fayli Kurds have suffered were caused by the behavior of the former regime [of Saddam Hussein] and the way it was looking at this important part of our Kurdish people.
We -- as the Kurdistan Coalition List -- will try, God willing, to get acquainted with these problems so that we can work on them and solve them through the next parliament and government. We are democrats so we do not believe in violating the opinions of others. There are opinions [among Fayli Kurds] that are opposite to our opinions, but we will not be persuading their holders to take one particular opinion. Anyway, the majority [of Fayli Kurds] is with the Kurdistan Coalition List and we are at the service of the community, of its members who are with our candidate list, as well as independents, [and] those who are going with other candidate lists.
Qosrat Rasul, a leading member of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (which is a part of the Kurdistan Coalition list), addressed the conference.
Rasul: We are at the threshold of Iraqi parliamentary election. We call on you [Fayli Kurds] to participate in it and to stand united with the Kurdish people voting for the Kurdistan Coalition list, No. 730.
This election will be important and decisive for the future of all Kurds throughout the world. You are the vanguard of our Kurdish people. We ask you to assume your historic mission and gather all sons of dear Fayli Kurdish people in Baghdad, Khanaqin, Mandali, Badra, Jassan, Al-Kut, Al-Amarah, Ali al-Sharqi, and Ali al-Gharbi, in this political process crucial for our Kurdish people.
Your participation will be a tribute to the martyrs of Kurds and Kurdistan and a guarantee of the right of Kurds for self-determination. Kurdistan Regional Government, the parliament of Kurdistan, the parliamentary bloc of Kurdistan in the Iraqi National Assembly, and Kurdish officials in the central government of Baghdad will form a bulwark and a support to you and to your future.
In conclusion, we wish success to this broad meeting and all the best to our Kurdish people.
(Translated by Petr Kubalek)
RFE/RL's coverage, background, and analysis of Iraq's December 15, 2005, legislative elections.