I strongly welcome the EU’s decision to remove Iraq from its list of countries at high risk of money laundering. In recent years, the KRG and the federal government in Baghdad have worked together with our partners in the international community to target the financing of terrorism and criminal networks, including illegal currency auctions and informal money service businesses.
This government’s reforms – including in public finances and services, procurement procedures, border crossings, and transparent oil sales audited by Deloitte – have made us stronger in our fight against corruption. We have also introduced improved oversight of our revenues by integrating the KRG with the global baking system. And now, with increased financial cooperation and investment from the European Union on the horizon, banking sector reform and support will become easier to deliver for the public.
For us in Kurdistan, this is personal: ISIS tried and failed to destroy our way of life, which is why we have placed ourselves front and center of international efforts to cripple their financing through the Counter ISIS Finance Group of the Global Coalition.
But we also made these changes for us and our future. If we hadn’t made these structural reforms to our economy and tackled illegal trade, we would not be seeing this door to opportunity opening with our friends in Europe.
This success we are enjoying today, with Europe’s recognition of shared efforts in Erbil and Baghdad, is why we must now go even further to secure a bright and prosperous economic future for our children.
I am confident we will look back on today as a turning point in Kurdistan’s journey out of the past, and into a global, prosperous, and peaceful future for the people of Kurdistan.