Delegation of the Primakov Centre takes part in MERI Forum 2023

From 10 to 11 October, Erbil, the capital of the autonomous Kurdistan Region of Iraq, hosted an annual forum organized by the Middle East Research Institute (MERI Forum 2023) and attended by a delegation from the Primakov Centre. The event brought together Iraqi politicians, representatives of expert, analytical, and diplomatic communities, as well as researchers and journalists from Iraq and regional states.

The forum began with welcoming remarks by Dlawer Ala’Aldeen, President of the Middle East Research Institute (MERI). He thanked those present for their interest in the problems of Iraq and Iraqi Kurdistan, and emphasized the need to jointly develop ways to solve them.

The Forum included several sessions devoted to Iraq’s domestic and foreign policy. The first expert session discussed the issue of the country’s energy priorities. At the session devoted to Iraq’s international partners, moderator of the discussion – Farhad Alaaldin, Advisor to the Iraqi Prime Minister – listed the main principles of the country’s foreign policy. These include equal partnerships, positive diplomacy, non-interference of foreign states in internal affairs, and joint implementation of projects instead of unilateral international assistance. The final panel discussion of the first day discussed Iraqi Kurdistan’s relations with Baghdad. In particular, the President of the autonomous Kurdistan Region, Nechirvan Barzani, emphasized the need for written agreements to resolve conflict issues with both the federal center and other political forces in this region.

The second day was no less intense with its seven sessions covering regionalization, political stabilization, media and international relations in Iraq. During the session on state-building in Iraq, Bafel Talabani, Head of the Patriotic Union of Iraqi Kurdistan, drew attention to the need for his political movement, the government of the autonomous region and the Iraqi government to work together to create a favorable economic environment, which is the basis for political stabilization in the country.

In addition to the Forum, Primakov Center experts visited the Consulate General of Russia in Erbil at the invitation of Consul General Maxim Rubin.

The delegation consisted of Primakov Center members and experts: Victoria Karslieva, Executive Director of the Center; Ruslan Mamedov, the Center’s Scientific Director and Senior Researcher at the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences; Grigory Lukyanov, Researcher at the Center for Arab and Islamic Studies of the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences; Denis Golubev, Associate Professor at the American Studies Department of St. Petersburg State University, and Philipp Golubev, Project Manager of the Primakov Center.