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Rep. Rohrabacher Discusses Recent Visit to Kurdistan

Aug 18, 2009
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Washington, Aug 18, 2009 - Mr Dana Rohrabacher is serving his eleventh term as a Republican member of Congress, representing Southern California’s 46th District. He is a ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Prior to his election to Congress, Mr. Rohrabacher served as Special Assistant to President Ronald Reagan and was one of his senior speechwriters.

On his second visit to the Kurdistan Region, and he has come to explore the relationship between the Region and the United States. Congressman Rohrabacher speaks with KRG.org about his visit and the future of this relationship.

KRG.org: Mr. Rohrabacher, can you tell us a little bit about your visit, and your understanding of the relationship between the US and the KRG?

Well I have met with your President, and of course the leader of your Parliament. This has been a very inspiring visit because last time I was here I was a witness to a group of people who were trying very hard to create a political and economic entity that is a viable entity. Well today, there is no doubt that the Kurdish autonomous area is a sovereign entity within Iraq that needs to be recognized and that the people here have very high standards and are moving forward very quickly to develop their resources for the benefit of the people, and are not willing to be held back by the inaction of Baghdad. And so I am very impressed by the leaders as well as the spirit of the people here in Erbil and the Kurdish autonomous area.

There are now four consulates in the Region, and a number of embassy offices. Do you foresee an upgrade in US diplomatic representation in Erbil?

When I return to Washington DC I will begin to work on legislation that will require the United States to join the other countries that have already moved in this direction, to establish a consulate here in Erbil for the Kurdish autonomous area. That, I believe, is something that is important because it will be a message to Baghdad and to everywhere that the United States recognizes that there is a certain sovereignty to this area and the people who live here, and that all decisions that are going to be made in the future that will create stability and prosperity for this Region are not just going to be made in Baghdad. They will also – like in the United States – be made at the state level. This is a sovereign state within Iraq. And so a consulate will be very, very beneficial for the United States, for the Region, and for Iraq as well.

As the United States moves forward with its responsible drawdown of troops in Iraq, what role do you expect the US to play in Iraq generally, and in the Kurdistan Region in particular?

The United States cannot bear the burden of providing the manpower and the military that will be the price of stability for this Region, for Iraq or for the rest of the world. We have spent a trillion dollars here, and there are thousands of young Americans who no longer have legs or arms, or their faces have been blown off. And we have paid a horrible price for the progress that has been made in getting rid of the dictator Saddam Hussein who was a monstrous human being. But we have paid the price and America can no longer bear that burden itself.

We must have partners that we deal with. And the Kurdish people need to view themselves, and we need to view the Kurdish people, as our partners, to create stability and prosperity for this Region. So I see us working with the Kurdish leadership as well as Baghdad and others in the area, especially Turkey, to make sure that we together can be a force for stability, for prosperity, and freedom. And America must remain active in seeking those goals.

Thank you
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Original Article: KRG.org