Consul General of the Russian Federation in the KRG Simakov: in Russian-Turkish relations, the positive dynamics of developments
PUKmedia Correspondent, Carolina Mazur, conducted an interview with the Consulate General of the Russian Federation, Viktor Simakov, in the Kurdistan Regional Government KRG. During her visit, Mazur and Simakov shaded light on the Russian-Kurdish relations and the situation in the Middle East as a whole.
Victor, how are the current Russian-Kurdish relations?
- Russian-Kurdish relations are very good. We are also seeing the positive dynamics of their developments. There have been many significant events in the recent years, including the meeting of the Russian President's Special Representative for the Middle East and Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation Mikhail Leonidovich Bogdanov with the Kurdish politicians and chairman of the political party "Democratic Union» (PYD) Salih Muslim.
As we know, in April 2016, on an official invitation request by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, Deputy Secretary General of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan and one of the leading politicians of Iraq Barham Salih arrived in Moscow. During his visit to Russia, Barham Salih met with the head of the Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, to discuss a number of important policy issues, as well as the Kurds insisted on the importance of participation in the Geneva talks mezhsiriyskih considering fair presence at the negotiations of all parties to the conflict.
Also, an important event was attended by high-ranking delegation from the KRG, headed by the Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Regional Government Nechirvan Barzani at the Saint Petersburg International Economic Forum, which was held on June 16-18 in St. Petersburg. During his visit to Russia, Nechirvan Barzani held a number of important meetings, including meetings with the head of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs - Sergei Lavrov, the speaker of the Russian parliament - Sergei Naryshkin, the head of "Gazprom" - Alexey Miller as well as Minister of Energy of the Russian Federation - Alexander Novak.
Have Russian policies changed in 2 years presence in the Middle East?
- It is impossible to say that during this period there are no changes in the Russian policies in the region because the Middle East is constant changes but not always for better. In connection with the coming changes, the Russian Federation is forced to adjust its foreign policy actions in the region.
For example, until 2011, we did not know such thing as an "Arab Spring", and until 2014 we could not assume that the Middle East would threaten worldwide terrorist organization Islamic State "Daash" as well as other negative phenomena, so Russia have taken all those changes and acts into account and considering the situations in the Middle East.
So due to rapid spread of "Daash" in Iraq and Syria, the Russian leadership has decided to provide assistance to the countries involved in the conflict, in particular Syria.
Many countries accuse Russia in the competitive nature of the military presence. But in fact this is not the case. Russia sees the threats of terrorism, and so should take attempts to correct the faults. And we should not forget that Russia does not act arbitrarily, but rather acts based on international laws and regulations.
Since there is international coalition, led by the United States of America to fight against terrorism, it is essential to establish effective cooperation. Russia does not just sit down at the negotiating table with the US. At some points, the world powers have come to an agreement, once the views on the solution of the same problem radically diverged. But, nevertheless, in all countries that are part of the international coalition have one common goal - the destruction of terrorism.
Each side has a list of organizations, which in their view are terrorist and therefore prohibited in the territory of a State. Recently, at the next meeting of Heads of the State and the Russian Federation, and the United States, and the UN exchanged their lists of terrorist organizations, which after careful handling, they amounted to a general list, based on which they are fighting terrorism.
Kurds cooperate with the US, EU and Russia. What should they expect from such a comprehensive cooperation? What outcomes can bring a closer cooperation with Russia?
- Kurds - a great nation that does not have their own state, and which is, roughly speaking, a hostage of its geographical location. It is therefore understandable that they are open and welcome any assistance and any cooperation.
Russia has always tried to help the Kurds. If you delve into history, at the time the Kurds helped the Tsarist Russia and later the Soviet Union and later Russia continued this new tradition. At the moment, the Russian Federation strongly helps Syrian Kurds as its military presence, as well as humanitarian aid.
Since 2011, the beginning of the political crisis in Syria, the Kurdish people have actively involved in the fights against various radical Islamist groups supported by outside forces.
The Kurdish people rose to defend not only the Fatherland, but also the very possibility of its existence. That is why the outrage caused persistent attempts to prevent the participation of Kurdish representatives in meetings on the settlement of the Syrian issue.
The political and democratic solutions to the Syrian problem are impossible without the participation of the Kurdish people. Otherwise, they will not be able to achieve peace, not only in Syria but also in the entire Middle East.
Russia, seeing the selfless struggle of the Kurds with terrorist groups in Syria, the only one of all the countries that is in any way relevant to the conflict, insists on the presence of Kurds in talks on Syria in Geneva.
What about the Iraqi Kurds? In Iraqi Kurdistan, it is increasingly becoming sounding statements to hold a referendum on the independence of the KRG. How does Russian Federation perceive this?
- As mentioned earlier, the Russian Federation is operating under international law in the international arena.
There is such thing as the right of peoples to self-determination. This is one of the basic principles of international law enshrined in the UN Charter and means the right of every one to decide the question of the shape of its national existence, freely determine their political status and to pursue their economic and cultural development. In this regard, if the KRG would have to comply with all the order of the declaration of independence and the leadership of the Iraqi Kurdistan will act according to the principles of international law, then why not. Russian never imposes its will.
The Kurds have to decide this question, and we will support it, provided that it is done without any outside interference.
Assuming a successful elimination of a terrorist organization "Daash" in Syria and Iraq, whether the Russian will start to invest in Iraq more actively?
- Of course. We are now witnessing in the region. Take as an example, "Gazprom". We also understand that with the advent of the war greatly affected the agricultural sector, and it needs to be recovered.
The Russian Federation is also interested in helping the energy sector, in particular small-scale energy sector. In Kurdistan, there is serious electricity problem and the Russian side has developed a number of projects that would be able to resolve this issue or at least to weaken it.
And I would like to add that we appreciate the good cooperation with the KRG, and we are ready to continue to build partnerships with Kurdish representatives.
Edited by Rizgar H. Qasim