Development Road best if goes through Kurdistan Region: PM Barzani

The New Region

May. 12, 2024 • 3 min read
Image of Development Road best if goes through Kurdistan Region: PM Barzani

Prime Minister Barzani advocates for the Development Road project to pass through Kurdish provinces, emphasizing its benefits while engaging with Baghdad.

Iraq’s Development Road project would serve Iraqis better if it was to pass through the Kurdistan Region’s provinces, the Region’s Prime Minister said on Sunday. 

Speaking at the the International Symposium on Drought, and the Impact of Climate Change on the Political, Economic, and Demographic Situation of Iraq, in Erbil, Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Region Masrour Barzani said that they have reached out to the Iraqi government with their suggestion for the Development Road project, and they will continue engaging with Baghdad on the matter.

“We believe it is better that it passes through Zakho to Mosul then to Erbil and Kirkuk and later to Baghdad,” Barzani said in response to a question regarding the path in which the road goes through. “Regardless of the reason, it is a wrong decision.”

Barzani cited a lack of correct data regarding the feasibility of the project if it was to go through the Kurdish cities, claiming that it would be cheaper for Baghdad if it went with the Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) suggestion.

“We have shared our view with Baghdad, we still do not know how it will be,” Barzani said.

Iraq sees this roadway as a crucial connection bridging the industrially vibrant nations of Asia with the technologically advanced, industrially robust, and agriculturally prosperous countries of Europe.

Stretching across 1200 kilometers, this corridor links the southern port of Faw to the Turkish border in the north via a network of railways and highways, passing through 10 Iraqi cities. The initial investment is estimated at $17 billion, with projected annual profits reaching approximately $5 billion.

On April 22, 2024, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan made his first visit to Iraq in 13 years. The primary focus of the visit was the signing of a Strategic Framework Agreement for cooperation and a Memorandum of Understanding for the Development Road Project to advance the initiative.

As part of the visit, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed for collaborative efforts between Iraq, Turkey, the UAE, and Qatar concerning the project. These nations declared their backing for the initiative and their preparedness to participate in it.

The memorandum entails the commitment of the signatory countries to establish the requisite frameworks for executing the project, which is anticipated to bolster international trade by offering a fresh, competitive transportation route.

When asked if the decision by Baghdad to put the road in a way that does not pass through the Kurdistan Region, Barzani refused to make such an assumption.

The actions taken by Iraq and Turkey, along with contributions from Gulf nations, underscore the importance of this road for the involved countries, with Iraq being particularly noteworthy. Iraq aims to initiate the project's first phase with the completion of the Faw Port by 2028 and intends to conclude it by 2050. These efforts come amidst global competition to establish novel international trade routes.

The Kurdistan Region and Turkey already share strong relations in trade, given that the Region for years used Turkish pipelines to transport its oil to the Mediterranean and sell it on the international oil market.

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