ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – French President Emmanuel Macron on Saturday called for the launch of national reconciliation in Iraq and the dissolution of the Shia militias in the country.
Macron on Saturday received a Kurdistan Region delegation led by Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani at the Élysée Palace.
“It is essential that there is a gradual demilitarization, in particular of the [Shia militias] that established itself in the last few years in Iraq, and that all militias be gradually dismantled,” he said in a press conference following the meeting.
He also praised the role of the Peshmerga and Iraqi forces in defeating the Islamic State (IS) and highlighted the Kurdistan Region’s role in receiving an enormous number of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and refugees fleeing the militant group.
The French President called for national reconciliation and “constructive dialogue” between Erbil and Baghdad to resolve their differences within the framework of the Iraqi Constitution.
Macron explained that the dialogue should target four objectives which he outlined.
First, the respect and implementation of all articles in the Iraqi Constitution. Second, the jurisdiction of the federal government should be settled on all border crossings. Third, all the militia groups should be dissolved, including the Iranian-backed Shia Hashd al-Shaabi.
Lastly, revenue in Iraq should be equally distributed to all the people in the country, and Article 140— regarding the status of Kirkuk Province and other disputed territories—should be implemented.
Macron noted that France supports a united and democratic Iraq in which the rights of all ethnic and religious groups are respected equally.
Prime Minister Barzani expressed the Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) readiness for dialogue to resolve issues between Erbil and Baghdad peacefully and within the framework of the Iraqi Constitution.
Ties between Erbil and Baghdad have considerably deteriorated since the Kurdistan Region’s Sep. 25 independence referendum.
As a show of good faith, the KRG offered to freeze the results of the referendum, but Baghdad refused, demanding a full annulment instead.
Since the plebiscite, Baghdad has launched collective punitive measures against Kurdistan, including the use of military force to control Kirkuk Province and other disputed territories.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany