ERBIL — Kurdistan Region Prime Minister Masrour Barzani has offered condolences over the passing of former Secretary of State Colin Powell who lost his life due to the coronavirus on Monday.
"I’m saddened by the passing of former Secretary of State Colin Powell, a lifelong friend of the Kurdistan Region and Iraq," the Kurdish prime minister wrote on Twitter.
"We worked closely together to rid the country of dictatorship. I know he sought lasting peace for the region," he added, noting: "My thoughts are with his family."
Powell was the first black US secretary of state whose leadership in several Republican administrations helped shape the US foreign policy during the 1990s as well as the early years of the 21st. The 84-year-old died from complications from Covid-19, his family said on Facebook.
"General Colin L. Powell, former U.S. Secretary of State and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, passed away this morning due to complications from Covid 19," the Powell family wrote on Facebook, explaining that he had received two doses of the coronavirus vaccine.
Powell paid a two-day visit to Kurdistan Region's Halabja city back in 2003 which is the site of the mass graves and a memorial museum dedicated to the 5,000 people who lost their lives in a 1988 chemical attack by the former Iraqi Baath regime led by Saddam Hussein.
"What can I say to you?" Powell told a crowd at a cemetery with a thousand headstones, many of them marking the graves of entire families. "I cannot tell you that choking mothers died holding their choking babies to their chests. You know that."
"I cannot tell you that the world should have acted sooner," he went on. "You know that. What I can tell you is that what happened here in 1988 is never going to happen again," he added.