ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani and United Nations envoy in Iraq Ján Kubiš on Tuesday discussed the necessity for the start of a dialogue between Kurdistan and Iraq.
The two sides addressed the crisis between Erbil and Baghdad and the developments in the country following the Sep. 25 plebiscite.
The UN envoy stressed the need “to hold technical and political negotiations between both sides to reach solutions to all outstanding issues.”
The relationship between the KRG and the Iraqi government has considerably deteriorated following Kurdistan’s 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 use of military force in disputed areas.
The KRG has shown its flexibility, offering to freeze the results of the referendum, but Baghdad demands a full annulment instead.
Barzani’s meeting with Kubiš took place before the KRG Prime Minister held a press conference in Erbil where he reaffirmed that no talks between Erbil and Baghdad have begun.
He also highlighted the international community’s failure to address the human rights abuses and violations in Kirkuk and other disputed territories following the takeover by Iranian-backed Hashd al-Shaabi militias.
On Oct. 16, Iraqi forces and Hashd al-Shaabi militias seized control of Kirkuk and Tuz Khurmatu, forcing thousands of its Kurdish population to leave their homes and flee toward Kurdistan.
According to several international human rights organizations, including Amnesty International, the properties of these families have been looted, burned, and destroyed.
The KRG Prime Minister called on Amnesty to “do its part” in what he labeled “a catastrophe.”
Meanwhile, displaced persons from Tuz Khurmatu gathered in front of the UN office in Erbil on Tuesday, calling for an international intervention and investigation into the crimes carried out by the Shia militias against the residents.
The displaced civilians urged the international community to deploy neutral forces such as UN peacekeeping troops or US-led coalition soldiers to help stabilize the situation and facilitate the return of thousands of people to their homes.
Editing by Sam A.