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KRG assumes security responsibility

Saturday, 02 June 2007
Multi-National Corps – Iraq
Public Affairs Office, Camp Victory
APO AE 09342

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
RELEASE No. 200700601-03
June 1, 2007

KRG assumes security responsibility
Multi-National Corps – Iraq PAO
By Staff Sgt. Christina Wright, Multi-National Corps – Iraq PAO

ERBIL, IRAQ -The Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) took official control of three provinces from Multi-National Force – Iraq at a formal ceremony in Erbil, Iraq May 30.

“Today’s event nearly doubles the number of provinces under Iraqi control and marks the fifth, sixth and seventh provinces to assume security responsibility, demonstrating another bold and courageous step forward in this country’s movement toward an independent and secure nation,” said Major Gen. Benjamin Mixon, Multi- National Division – North commanding general.

The ceremony, held at a convention center in Erbil, was attended by National Security Advisor Dr. Mowaffaq al-Rubaie, the keynote speaker representing Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki.

“The strength of the Kurdistan Region means the strength of all Iraq and the weakness of any region means the weakness of the entire country,” Dr. al-Rubaie said in his speech at the ceremony.

The memorandum of understanding outlining the security handover was signed by KRG Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani, Major Gen. Mixon, and Multi-National Division – Northeast Commanding General Major General Yoon Young-Bum of the Korean Army.

“Here, we reiterate our commitment to the Iraqi constitution,” Barzani said at the ceremony. “This constitution is a reflection of the will and desire of the peoples of Iraq. It is the legal framework which will protect and secure the rights of all parties.”

The Kurdish region has been one of the most peaceful areas in Iraq over the past years. The region is often seen as taking the lead and demonstrating the necessary progress to self-govern and become prosperous.

“This [security handover] is a result of vigilance and experience gained from 15 years of self-rule,” Barzani said. “We continued to strive and sacrifice until the fall of the regime. Our sacrifices were made to secure our just rights in a democratic framework.”

Barzani thanked the Coalition for its role in Iraq.

“I wish to express my gratitude to the Multinational Force for liberating the peoples of Iraq. We value highly and pay homage to the sacrifices made in pursuit of that noble goal,” he said.

In assistance of the revitalization effort in KRG, the Korean Zaytun Division has worked hard to help with the reconstruction of infrastructure in the Kurdish Region insupport of MNF-I. This work is in addition to the peacekeeping commitment of the Coalition.

In total, slightly less than $436 million has been spent on all aspects of reconstruction in the area, funded projects that help self-sustainment across the region.

Emphasis on bringing local and international businesses to the area has also helped create new investments.

“Through your initiative, you have enabled the United States to bring an unprecedented number of American and international businessmen to this area,” Gen. Mixon said in his speech. “This is a reflection of your ability to self-govern and provide a secure environment that will foster investment opportunities and continued development throughout the region.”

The sustained security and new investors, coupled with the implementation of democratic and constitutional institutions, have made KRG a model for all of Iraq.

“We see no more noble a duty than to provide stability and safety to the people of our region,” Barzani said in his conclusion. “Political stability is the foundation of economic growth.”

The ceremony and signing of the document transferring authority over to the region was followed by a parade of various security forces in Kurdistan and a martial arts demonstration by female members of the Iraqi Army.

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FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT MULTI-NATIONAL CORPS – IRAQ, PUBLIC AFFAIRS OFFICE BY E-MAIL AT MNCI-PAO-VICTORYMAINJOC@IRAQ.CENTCOM.MIL



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