ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – President Masoud Barzani received Iraqi Parliamentary speaker Salim al-Jabouri in Erbil on Sunday to discuss the political situation in Iraq in the aftermath of the Kurdistan independence referendum.
Barzani’s meeting with al-Jabouri focused on maintaining stability and security in the region through peaceful means, according to the Kurdistan Presidency media release. The two sides discussed collective efforts to de-escalate tensions between Baghdad and Erbil, the presidency’s statement added.
Hemin Hawrami, a senior assistant to President Barzani, stated on Sunday in a tweet that the Kurdish leadership was “ready for dialogue with Baghdad on an open agenda [about Kurdish independence], without preconditions from any side in a defined time frame.”
Al-Jabouri’s visit to Erbil comes after the Iraqi parliament and Government took a strong stance against the vote and demanded the results of the Sep. 25 referendum be canceled by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG).
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi in a speech to the Iraqi Parliament on Sep. 27 insisted that he would “never have a dialogue about the referendum [with Kurdish leaders]”.
The Kurdish referendum resulted in roughly 93% voting 'Yes' for independence out of over 3.3 million voters. The Iraqi parliament later approved several punitive measures to be taken against the Kurds, including the threat of military action, and a ban on international flights over the Kurdistan Region's airspace.
Earlier, an Iraqi parliamentary committee provided the names of 10 Kurdish MPs who had voted in the referendum to consider stripping their immunity. Speaker al-Jabouri was the first to raise the issue in Parliament, effectively alienating the Kurdish MPs.
On Saturday, however, al-Jabouri attended the funeral of Jalal Talabani, the former president of Iraq and the secretary general of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, in Sulaimania.
Kurdish officials continue to call for dialogue and negotiations to resolve the disputes peacefully instead of the use of threatening language and sanctions.
Editing by G.H. Renaud