ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – Germany’s Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel canceled a trip to Baghdad after the Iraqi Prime Minister refused to meet with him if he also visited Erbil, Germany’s Der Spiegel reported on Thursday.
Foreign Minister Gabriel planned to visit Baghdad and the Kurdish capital of Erbil to mediate between the two conflicting sides, but Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi blocked the move.
According to Der Spiegel, Abadi “vehemently opposed” Gabriel’s plan to visit the Kurdistan Region after planning to meet with officials in Baghdad first.
The Minister’s plan was “a diplomatic shuttle,” according to the online German newspaper. “First, he wanted to talk to the central government in Baghdad at the beginning of November and then” visit Erbil to see if both sides could initiate a constructive dialogue.
The Iraqi government told the German Foreign Office that Gabriel’s visit to the Kurdistan Region was “undesirable.”
Despite Chancellor Angela Merkel's efforts during a phone call with Abadi, the Iraqi Prime Minister refused to change his mind causing Gabriel to cancel his trip completely.
Following Kurdistan’s historic independence vote where 93 percent voted for secession from Iraq, Baghdad imposed several punitive measures on the Region including the banning of international flights, border closures, and the use of military force in disputed areas.
The Federal Government of Iraq has taken a rather sour approach to Germany, mainly due to their relationship with the Kurdish Peshmerga forces.
Germany’s Bundeswehr mission in Iraq includes the training and arming of Kurdish forces which took place during the ongoing campaign to defeat the Islamic State.
Editing by Nadia Riva