“We are keen to learn how the United Kingdom can contribute to economic reform plans in the Kurdistan Region,” said Tobias Ellwood, the UK Minister for the Middle East, in a meeting with Professor Dlawer Ala’Aldeen, President of the Middle East Research Institute (MERI), and a number Kurdistan Regional experts, on Wednesday December 16, 2015.
During the meeting, discussion focused on the urgency of economic reforms and post-ISIS war reconstruction in the country. The UK Minster views economic reforms to be of great necessity, and was interested to learn more about how his country can provide assistance. He also wanted to understand the socio-political dynamics and administrative arrangements in place for Shangal (Sinjar) after its recent liberation. He expressed his country’s wishes to become actively involved in the process of post-liberation stabilisation and reconstruction of the area and noted that “Sinjar can serve as a model for post-war reconstruction” in terms of social cohesion, rule-of-law and post-war investment, if appropriate support is given.
Professor Ala’Aldeen highlighted the importance of a unified vision and strategy for the post-ISIL era and a role for the UK in reintegration and bringing together relevant stakeholders. He also extended a special invitation to Minister Ellwood to attend MERI’s forthcoming Economic Forum to be held at the end of April 2016. The Forum will focus entirely on economic reform in both Iraq and the Kurdistan Region.
Mr. Angus Mckee, the British Consul-General in Erbil; Mr. Hoshang Mohammed, Director General of the Joint Crisis Coordination Centre (KRG); Mr. Dakhil, a former Yezidi MP, and Mr. Patrick Osgood of Iraq Oil Report also participated in the meeting.
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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).