ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) welcomes any positive steps to begin a dialogue between the Kurdistan Region and Iraq, a spokesperson said on Tuesday.
In a statement on the KRG website, spokesperson Safeen Dizayee reiterated Kurdistan’s position on seeking peaceful ways to resolving the issues between Erbil and Baghdad through negotiations.
The statement came in response to remarks made by advisors to Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi who claimed the KRG had agreed to handover border crossings and airports to Iraqi authorities. However, such claims were quickly refuted by Kurdish officials.
“[The KRG] welcomes any positive steps for a dialogue toward resolving the issues between the Kurdistan Region and the Federal Government of Iraq on the basis of the Iraqi Constitution,” Dizayee said.
He noted that Kurdistan’s Council of Ministers emphasized that matter in a meeting last week, adding the “KRG would welcome any steps that pave the way for dialogue” between both sides.
The statement also highlighted the steps made by Baghdad last week, notably an Iraqi government delegation’s planned visit to Kurdistan and the forming of joint committees for talks over borders, airports, and dams in the Kurdistan Region.
“Erbil considers Baghdad’s request to provide the list of employees from the KRG’s Ministries of Education and Health to begin sending employee salaries as a good gesture,” the statement explained.
“The KRG is ready to hold a dialogue with the Iraqi government over managing the border crossings and the airports in accordance with the mechanism set by the Iraqi Constitution,” Dizayee noted.
Commenting on the reopening of the two border crossings between Kurdistan and Iran early Tuesday, Dizayee said the KRG “welcomes and is happy about such a step.”
The statement concluded by repeating that “the KRG was ready to coordinate and collaborate with Baghdad to reach a common solution for the interests of both sides.”
Tensions between Erbil and Baghdad have increased since the Region held an independence referendum on Sep. 25, 2017, which won overwhelming support for secession from Iraq.
Baghdad refused to recognize the vote and instead responded by imposing collective punitive measures against Kurdistan, including the use of military force in disputed areas.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany