A statement from President Barzani on the 30th anniversary of United Nations Security Council Resolution 688, which established the No-Fly Zone over some parts of Northern Iraq and laid the foundation for the realisation of the autonomy of the Kurdistan Region.
Today, we mark the 30th anniversary of an important day in the history of the people of Kurdistan. Thirty years ago, on this day, April 5, 1991, the United Nations’ Security Council issued the Resolution 688. With this resolution, the No-Fly Zone was established as a safe haven to protect large parts of Kurdistan Region and prevent further attacks from the former Iraqi regime against the people of Kurdistan.
This decision was a historic turning point for Kurdistan following the large-scale exodus of people fleeing to the mountains and then to the neighboring Iran and Turkey. The exodus was a testament of defiance from the people of Kurdistan against oppression committed by the former Iraqi regime. The UN Resolution established peace and led to the protection of the people of Kurdistan. It paved the way for the 1992 elections and the establishment of the parliament, government and the Kurdistan Region.
It was a turning point for the idea of Humanitarian Intervention and it started a new chapter in the history of the Kurdistan Region. The Resolution created new opportunities for the Kurdistan to merge as a success story in the wider region, promoting peace, coexistence and democracy.
Undoubtedly, the Kurdistan Region could have become a better model for the promotion of democracy in the past 30 years. There have been setbacks and great challenges. But at the same time, many of the setbacks that prevented the Kurdistan Region’s further development, were not of its own making. It is therefore imperative now, more than ever, that dialogue and tolerance replace disputes and hostilities, and that with the support of the internatinal communities, the Kurdistan Region and the Federal Government reach a lasting agreement for a more promising future for all parties.
On this day, we appreciate and salute the international community, which made the right decision and issued the UN Resolution. The people and leadership of Kurdistan have proved that they will contribute to peace and prosperity if given the opportunity. We urge the international community to support us to take further steps towards a better future, peace and stability for Iraq, the greater region and the world. We can together preserve and promote universal values and confront terror and extremism.
We extend our gratitude to Iran and Turkey for hosting the refugees from Kurdistan. We thank all nations that took part in the issuing of the Resolution 688, which led to the establishment of a safe haven for the people of Kurdistan. We thank the United Nations and the Non-governmental organizations. We appreciate the public opinion and people across the world who encouraged their governments to protect the people of Kurdistan. We will always remember your support and ask for your further support and partnership.
We thank the media outlets, journalists and photographers who courageously played a major role in conveying the sufferings of the people of Kurdistan at the time of the exodus, which led to the humanitarian support for the people of Kurdistan by the international community. We thank the Kurdistani community, artists and organizations in the Diaspora who relentlessly conveyed the plight of the people of Kurdistan. We salute and value the support from all.
The President of the Kurdistan Region