In a message of condolences on the passing of Jalal Talabani, former President of Iraq and Secretary-General of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, PUK, Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani described President Talabani as a leader who played a significant role in the Kurdistan struggle, bringing democracy to Iraq, and as a man of a global stature.
The following is the text of Prime Minister Barzani’s message:
Today, the people of Iraq and the Kurdistan Region lost a great freedom fighter. On this sad occasion I extend my and my government’s condolences to the people of Kurdistan, Iraq, Mrs. Hero Talabani, Qubad Talabani, Bavel Talabani, their entire family and members of the PUK leadership.
President Talabani played a major role in the Kurdistan revolution. He joined the Kurdistan intellectual and political movement at a very young age. In earlier years, he played a leadership role in the Kurdistan Democratic Party, KDP, and later founded the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan. Hand-in-hand with the KDP, he helped drive the Kurdistan revolution forward, formed the coalition of Iraqi Kurdistan Front against the regime of Saddam Hussein, staged the 1991 uprising, and protected legitimate state institutions.
His role in combating dictatorship and bringing democracy to Iraq is unforgettable. He together with Kurdistan Region President Masoud Barzani and other democratic leaders insisted on rebuilding Iraq on a democratic, pluralistic, and federal foundation. Equality between Kurds and Arabs and protection of the rights of Turkmens, Christians, and followers of all other faiths were enshrined in Iraq’s new constitution.
As President of Iraq, he made tireless efforts in Baghdad while facing a constant struggle to defend and implement the Constitution. Thanks to his stature, political talent, skills, and personal charisma known to all Iraqi parties, he often prevented violations of the Constitution. His absence due to illness allowed the Constitution to be breached and the political process to collapse with devastating consequences for the country.
My relations with President Talabani were strong, with understanding and respect. Most issues that arose became a basis for fruitful discussions and the outcomes were always solutions to which he was always amenable.
His loss as a leader is a major loss for Kurdistan, Iraq, and the whole region.
Once again, I send my condolences to all those who loved him and I hope all follow his path toward consensus and amiability in Iraq.
May he rest in peace!
Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Regional Government