ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – A Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Spokesperson on Wednesday responded to Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi regarding the salaries of public employees in the Region, adding the people of Kurdistan have lost faith in his words.
During a weekly press briefing on Tuesday, the Iraqi Prime Minister said his government had a list of KRG employees who were currently being audited.
In a statement on Wednesday, KRG Spokesperson Safeen Dizayee refuted Abadi’s claim, stating Baghdad had not requested any list from the Kurdistan Region for auditing purposes.
“The KRG is not aware of the list Abadi’s government is reviewing,” the statement said, adding the “people of Kurdistan now know that [Abadi’s words] are just media claims—nothing else— therefore, they do not trust him.”
Regarding the border crossings and continued closure of the Region’s airports, Dizayee said that according to Article 114 of the Iraqi Constitution, border crossings have to be jointly administrated by the Iraqi government and KRG authorities.
“The KRG has always expressed its readiness for cooperation and collaboration regarding this matter,” Dizayee added.
The KRG Spokesperson explained that the flight ban was a punishment against the people of Kurdistan, highlighting the difficulty for Peshmerga fighters, wounded in the fight against the Islamic State (IS), to travel abroad for treatment.
The relationship between the KRG and the Iraqi government has considerably deteriorated following Kurdistan’s Sep. 25 independence referendum.
The historic vote received sweeping support for secession from Iraq, but Baghdad refused to recognize the results and instead responded by imposing collective punitive measures against Kurdistan, including the closure of airports and use of military force in disputed areas.
In Wednesday’s press briefing, Abadi claimed the Erbil and Sulaimani airports were open, and the people of Kurdistan could access them to travel abroad through Baghdad’s International Airport.
Dizayee’s statement noted it was difficult for the people of Kurdistan to travel through Baghdad’s airport or other cities, as the Iraqi PM claimed, because of the increase in travel time and costs.
“Only through the media, press conferences, and for propaganda reasons—not for resolving issues—does Abadi talk about understanding the Constitution and citizenship,” the statement said.
The KRG Spokesperson concluded by warning that Abadi’s propaganda does not benefit the current crisis between Erbil and Baghdad or provide a solution, but causes continued instability.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany