Thursday, 22 January 2009, 03:51 GMT
Son of Iraqi president sees good relations between Washington and Erbil

Qubad Talabani, KRG representative in Washington

The Kurdish Globe

The son of Iraq's president and head of the Kurdistan Regional Government's office in Washington says the new U.S. administration has a good starting point in relations with the Kurdish region. Speaking to a Kurdish weekly, Qubad Talabani said he is more optimistic than before that Kurds will enjoy healthy relations with the incoming Obama administration.

"The designation of Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State is of course beneficial for us Kurds," Talabani told Kurdish weekly "Awene" on Tuesday, "especially considering the statement Mrs. Clinton made earlier last year saying 'We should protect Kurdistan Region and move our base there.'"

Talabani said Kurdish leaders also see the designation of both Joseph Biden and John Jones as close aides of the new president as even greater sources of hope in Kurdistan. Talabani says relations between Kurds and the U.S. have notably improved over the last few years, and a strategic relation between the two would sooner or later emerge.

"I think our relations are heading toward a strategic partnership. We enjoy much better relations with the U.S. than three, four years ago, and it's definitely better than a decade ago. We all saw how the Kurdish president officially was received by the U.S. president, and I think this is a good sign of improved relations between the two," Talabani said.

Speaking about political parties in Kurdistan, Talabani said time was ripe for the adaptation to a new era. "I think all parties should see the transformations we have witnessed in our era and try to adapt to the new era. The government should be left to conduct duties away from political parties' intervention. We should now clearly show what duties are for the government and what role political parties might have," Talabani said.