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Committee visits Northern Iraq

Sir John Chilcot and Baroness Usha Prashar have recently returned from a brief visit to Erbil in Northern Iraq. They visited Iraq between Monday 08 November and Wednesday 10th November. This visit follows the Committee’s trip to Baghdad and Basra just over a month ago. The Committee wanted to see for themselves the situation in Northern Iraq and to hear the perspectives of the Kurdish Regional Government and others on the UK’s involvement in Iraq between 2003 and 2009.

As with the Inquiry’s discussions in France and the USA, the meetings were not formal evidence sessions and therefore records of the conversations will not be published.

During this visit to Iraq the Iraq Inquiry Committee met the following people:

Professor Dlawer Ala’Adeen Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, Kurdistan Regional Government
Msgr Jaques Isaac Chaldean Patriarchal Vicar for Cultural Affairs and Dean of the Babel College
Nawzad Hadi Mawlood Governor of Erbil
Dr Barham Saleh Prime Minister, Kurdistan Regional Government
Karim Sinjari Minister of the Interior, Kurdistan Regional Government

The Committee also had the opportunity to meet Hoshyar Zebari (the Iraqi Foreign Minister) whilst he was in London.

Sir John Chilcot said:

“These meetings have provided very useful insights for the Committee. Seeing the situation in Iraq at first hand has made a significant impact on the Committee’s understanding and awareness of the country at the centre of our Inquiry. Personally, I have been quite struck by the stark differences between the different regions of Iraq today. In all this, we are very grateful to all those who have helped organise these meetings and to those who have offered us their insights and experiences.

“We continue the huge task of drawing together and analysing all the information and evidence we have. If needs be, the Inquiry will take further evidence either through written statements or through holding further hearings. I hope to make an announcement shortly about the Inquiry’s future plans. Our intention remains to publish the report in early 2011.”