ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – The US is not playing a neutral role in the resolution of disputes between Erbil and Baghdad, according to a top Kurdish official.
In a press conference held in Erbil on Monday, Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Region Nechirvan Barzani criticized the Federal Government of Iraq for attempting to abolish the constitutionally-enshrined entity that is the Kurdistan Region and for rejecting calls for dialogue.
He stressed that Baghdad was violating the constitution by wanting to deal with the Kurdistan Region's provinces individually rather than through the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG).
Barzani also accused the US of taking sides and forgoing its neutral role in decreasing tensions between Erbil and Baghdad. He stated Washington DC supports Baghdad instead of being a mediator between its two allies.
The Kurdish official called on the US to balance its relations with the two capitals and set the stage for the clashing governments to resolve their internal political disputes peacefully and through constructive dialogue.
Baghdad is implementing the Iraqi Constitution as they see fit, in the way that benefits them the most, and ignores the sections which do not serve their interests, he added.
“Why did we hold a referendum? It is because we were disappointed in the selective implementation of the Iraqi constitution,” Barzani said, suggesting that had Kurds believed they had bright future in Iraq, they would not have sought out other options.
“If we want stability in the country, we should not think about who is strong and who is weak,” the Kurdish Premier asserted.
Barzani once again criticized Baghdad for decreasing its share of the budget for yet another year, explaining that the number had been established for years and would require a census to justify the reduction.
The 17 percent budget share was agreed upon between the KRG and the Federal Government of Iraq during the transitional period after the fall of the regime in 2003. No census has been conducted in the country since the 1980s, but there are an estimated 7 to 8 million people in the Kurdistan Region representing between 17 and 20 percent of Iraq's population.
Ties between Erbil and Baghdad have considerably deteriorated following the Sep. 25 referendum on independence for the Kurdistan Region.
Editing by Nadia Riva