ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan24) – Iraqi President Fuad Masum on Wednesday said he was convinced Erbil and Baghdad would be able to resolve their differences and put an end to the current crisis.
On the sidelines of his meetings with the Kurdish leadership in Erbil, Masum told Kurdistan 24 that dialogue between the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and the Federal Government of Iraq was possible but depended on the willingness of both sides to engage.
Ties between Baghdad and Erbil considerably deteriorated after the Kurdistan Region’s historic Sep. 25 independence referendum which saw nearly 93 percent voting in favor of secession.
The central government has repeatedly labeled the vote “unconstitutional” and called on the Kurdistan Region to cancel the results of the referendum as a pre-condition to any discussions.
Baghdad also imposed a series of punitive measures against the people of Kurdistan, including demanding control of the airports and international border crossings and imposing federal authority on disputed territories through the use of military force, such as Kirkuk.
When asked if any of Baghdad’s demands were unconstitutional, Masum said nothing indicated that they were.
“I am convinced Baghdad and Erbil will reach a consensus,” he stated, insisting conditions must not be political.
“The Constitution should be an umbrella to protect the dignity and existence of all components without any discrimination,” Masum added.
Masum met with the former Kurdistan Region President, Masoud Barzani, who urged the Iraqi government to immediately put an end to violations committed against the people of Kirkuk and Tuz Khurmatu, adding that the acts were “unacceptable,” and that Erbil would “not remain silent.”
According to a statement from Barzani’s office, both leaders agreed on the need to resolve all issues peacefully and through dialogue.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany