Debating Complex Issues
Interestingly, the debate between Iraq’s Transport Minister, Baqir Jabr Al-Zubeidi, and the KRG Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Natural Resources at the Forum, was followed last week by breakthroughs in negotiations over the KRG budget and aviation traffic to Sulaimani Airport. The Iraqi Prime Minister also responded to comments made by speakers at MERI Forum and encouraged his Oil Minister, Dr. Adil Abdul-Mahdi, to visit Erbil. The initial meeting between Erbil and Baghdad has resulted in an announcement that amendments will be made to Iraqi oil and gas laws and that more specialized powers will be given to provinces which have their own oil.
Furthermore, Salim Al-Jubouri floated the idea of a Council of Wise Men for Dialogue and Reconciliation in Iraq during his talk which elicited a favourable response from the President of Iraq, Fuad Masum. Salim Al-Jabouri proposed that Fuad Masum should preside over such a Council to which the President assented.
Organising the MERI Forum 2014, like all major events in Iraq, was not without its challenges, however, despite all challenges, the event received positive feedback and there have been calls to make it an annual event. We at MERI highly value formal and anonymous feedback from delegates and viewers, to help us improve future events. A link to a feedback form is available for those who are keen to offer comments, suggestions and constructive criticisms.
Finally, we are pleased to make the full transcripts and videos of all the Forum sessions available on our website and we hope you find the material useful for future use. We look forward to welcoming you to MERI Forum next year.
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About MERI: The Middle East Research Institute is Iraq’s leading policy-research institute and think tank. It is an independent, entirely grant-funded not-for-profit organisation, based in Erbil, Kurdistan Region. Its mission is to contribute to the process of nation-building, state-building and democratisation via engagement, research, analysis and policy debates.
MERI’s main objectives include promoting and developing human rights, good governance, the rule of law and social and economic prosperity. MERI conduct high impact, high quality research (including purpose-based field work) and has published extensively in areas of: human rights, government reform, international politics, national security, ISIS, refugees, IDPs, minority rights (Christians, Yezidis, Turkmen, Shabaks, Sabi mandeans), Baghdad-Erbil relations, Hashd Al-Shabi, Peshmarga, violence against women, civil society. MERI engages policy- and decision-makers, the civil society and general public via publication, focused group discussions and conferences (MERI Forum).