Statement by the President of the Kurdistan Region, Nechirvan Barzani, on the conclusion of His Holiness Pope Francis’ Apostolic Journey to Iraq and the Kurdistan Region
Erbil, Kurdistan Region, March 8, 2021
We greatly recognize the value of His Holiness Pope Francis’ visit to Iraq and the Kurdistan Region, who made the journey despite all the concerns. I thank His Holiness sincerely. We are proud and honored by His Holiness’ praise of the culture of co-existence and tolerance in Kurdistan.
I thank all religious and ethnic communities in Kurdistan who took part in the reception ceremony and hosting of His Holiness, particularly the Muslim religious leaders and representatives of all other religious groups in Kurdistan and Iraq. They demonstrated the richness of Kurdistan’s culture, which is rooted in tolerance, fraternity and mutual respect among all its communities.
The only path towards healing the wounds of war and violence in Iraq, as His Holiness rightly pointed out in the Holy Mass in Erbil, is “tolerance, forgiveness and kindness which God expects from all of us.” As His Holiness emphasized, “God wants the heart to be cleaned, it must be purified from the falsehoods that stain it, from the duplicity of hypocrisy” and “revenge, which plunges us into a spiral of endless retaliation.”
We in the Kurdistan Region fully support His Holiness’ message of peace, tolerance, coexistence, and mutual respect, away from hatred, extremism, terror and revenge. These values are the pillars of the Kurdistani society and we continue to preserve them. I hope that, in both Iraq and the Kurdistan Region, we resolve the disagreements with the spirit and power of these values and messages of peace and tolerance.
I thank the cooperation between Iraq’s Federal Government and the Kurdistan Regional Government and all the relevant authorities which arranged this historic visit, in terms of protocol, organization and security, with excellence.
Kurdistan Region President