Masoud Barzani says time for new chapter of Baghdad-Erbil relations

2018-05-19

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SULAIMANI – The head of Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), Masoud Barzani said on Saturday (May 19) that he hopes the relationship between Kurdistan Region and central government to enter a new chapter.

Barzani’s comments came after the Iraqi parliamentary election on May 12 during which the KDP took a lead among the Kurdish parties by winning 25 seats.

“Now as the election for the Iraqi Council of Representatives has been held and came to an end, a new situation has emerged, I hope that Baghdad-Erbil relations will undergo a thorough review sidelining fanatic and hostile views to be based on a mutually beneficial path,” Barzani said in a statement.

Relations between the Erbil and the central government hit a low point in 2015, after officials from both sides accused each other of failing to abide by the terms of an oil revenue sharing deal struck by officials in December 2014.

They dipped even further in the aftermath of the referendum held by the Kurdistan Region, which saw over 90 percent of voters say “yes” to independence.

The latest feud between Erbil and Baghdad stems from Baghdad’s economic and military measures in retaliation for the Kurdistan referendum on Sept. 25, which saw 92.7 percent of the population vote in favor of independence.

The Kurds lost control of the oil-rich city of Kirkuk and some other disputed areas to the Iraqi security forces in aftermath of the referendum after a military operation.

“We believe it is good to resume dialogue with Baghdad until we reach a consequence, before and after the referendum we have always believed that the issues should be resolved peacefully and want to have a peaceful relationship with Baghdad,” Barzani said.

Barzani said the current status quo which has been imposed by force on Kirkuk and other “Kurdistani areas” must come to an end.

He further encouraged the Iraqi High Electoral Commission to take into consideration the demands of the political parties about the alleged widespread voter fraud in May 12 elections.

(NRT)