Jul 24 2012
By Dalya Ahmed
Azzaman, July 24, 2012
The semi-independent region of Iraqi Kurdistan is looking forward to some form of economic partnership with Iran, according to a senior Kurdish official.
Burham Saleh, a Kurdish leader and the former prime minister of the Kurdish regional government, said it was vital for the Kurdish region and neighboring Iran to setup joint projects, organizations and firms to unify the sides’ economies.
“It is of paramount importance (for the Kurdish region) to cooperate with major Iranian firms,” Saleh said.
He called for the “formation of joint industrial companies and urged Iran to participate in the (Kurdish) economic village and the setting up of joint transport firms.”
Saleh’s remarks have come following the signing of 10 economic and commercial deals between the Kurdish region and Iran.
He said the decision to take the level of economic cooperation with Iran to “partnership” was taken at the highest political levels in the region.
The next stage in cooperation will see the formation of joint banking and financial institutions as well as land and air transport companies.
Saleh is the most senior official in the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan headed by Jalal Talabani, the Iraqi President.
PUK shares power of the region with Kurdish Democratic Party of Massoud Barzani.
Both Talabani and Barzani had sought refuge in Iran after fleeing attacks by Iraqi armed forces in the years before the first Gulf War of 1991.
Saleh said activities by Iranian firms in the region were “discernible and tangible” and that there were more opportunities for cooperation.
Of the agreements the sides have already signed, Saleh said they should “formulate a road map for economic cooperation between the sides for the coming five years.”
Iran is the region’s top economic partner. Iranian firms have contracts in the region worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
Super markets and shops in the area brim with Iranian goods.
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