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Crossing Continents Wednesday, 6 November, 2002, 11:16 GMT
Barham Saleh - the interview
Barham Salih, Prime Minister of Iraqi Kurdistan
Barham Salih, Prime Minister of Iraqi Kurdistan
George Arney

In this interview for Crossing Continents' website, George Arney travels to northern Iraq to talk to Barham Saleh, Prime Minister of Iraqi Kurdistan. Mr Saleh talks about his hopes for democracy in the country and the future of Iraqi Kurdistan.


Sulaimaniyah street
Political leaders dominate everyday life
"I spent about 10 years in Britain, Britain gave me a refuge when I had to flee this country. My colleagues in the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan nominated me for the position of Prime Minister and I thought it a challenge."



PUK Party Kurds
The Kurds are ready to exercise their right to freedom
"The prospect of genocide stays with us every day of our lives. Iraqi tanks are literally an hour or so away. We need to have a peaceful, democratic Iraq within which the Kurdish people can exercise their right to freedom."



Dottuk skyline
The Kurdish countryside may soon be changed with war
"If the present government in Baghdad were to remain in power the prospects of another campaign of genocide are very real. Halabja to us is a reminder of what it was like with this regime. I can't think of any security with this regime in power."



Kurdish soldier ready for action
The Kurds are looking for international support
"We were fighting this very regime when America was supporting it. We have been fighting for democracy for decades. It's now incumbent upon the international community to help us."



Kurdish army recruits
Recruits not sure of the immediate future
"We have been fighting for our freedom and for democracy in Iraq for decades. For us the central requirement is a democratic, federal Iraq. We're not guns for hire. The protection of the no-fly zone and the security guarantees has been for our survival."



Kurdish woman
Democracy should bring social transformations
"We are certainly mindful of the prospect of one dictator being replaced with another. We are not willing to commit any risks for that - I think the Americans realise the importance of democratic transformation in Iraq."



Sulaimaniyah schoolchildren
Schoolchildren seem oblivious to military and political turmoil
"Iraq without democracy will be a recipe for disaster not just for the Iraqi people but for the entire neighbourhood. We in the Kurdistan areas of Iraq today have demonstrated that we can have an accountable government."



Dottuk
The city of Dottuk is a focal point of change
"We do need a fundamental change in Iraq. The country is the key for wider change in the Middle East. We definitely don't have democracy here - but we have embarked on that process."



Atrosh refugee camp
Life as a refugee may soon be harder than ever
"Democracy and federalism are viable for Iraq. This is a nexus here in Iraq, the implications for the wider Islamic Middle East are truly phenomenal. Democracy and representative government are the way forward."



Oil pipelines
Democracy like oil, is no pipe dream
"People here are very resilient - people are really very hopeful about the future. We have really done it in Iraqi Kurdistan. We need international engagement to make it [democracy] happen here. "



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