ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – There is growing recognition between the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and the Federal Government of Iraq of the need to initiate a dialogue to resolve their issues within the framework of the Iraqi constitution, according to the top Kurdish official on Wednesday.
During his weekly press conference in Erbil, the Kurdistan Region’s Prime Minister, Nechirvan Barzani, painted a cautiously optimistic picture of the current exchanges between Erbil and Baghdad and shared his hopes the result will be in the interest of all people in Iraq and the Kurdistan Region.
“We trust ties between Erbil and Baghdad will be restored and relations will return stronger than before,” Barzani said.
The Premier confirmed he had received an invitation from the Iraqi Parliament Speaker, Salim al-Jabouri, to visit Baghdad. He revealed he had yet to accept the offer as he might be unable to attend due to prior commitments at the World Economic Forum 2018 in Davos.
Commenting on the Kurdistan Region’s standing with its neighbors, Iran and Turkey, he claimed ties have normalized to a large extent, and expects them to develop further.
Barzani noted that the delegations from Erbil and Baghdad have agreed on an initial draft to lift the international flight ban on the Kurdistan Region. The arrangement, however, needs to be reviewed and approved by the Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi.
“There is only one remaining technical issue that needs to be altered to connect Erbil to Baghdad [regarding flights],” the Kurdish Premier said. “All of Baghdad’s demands have been approved and implemented… Now, we are waiting for their decision.”
Barzani took a more diplomatic stance, saying the KRG is ‘simply asking’ the Iraqi federal government to respect its constitutional rights, ‘nothing more.’ He also pointed to the IMF’s financial assistance to Iraq, asserting Kurdistan, as part of Iraq, should be able to benefit from that aid as well.
Ties between Erbil and Baghdad have considerably deteriorated following the Sep. 25 referendum in the Kurdistan Region which saw an overwhelming majority favoring statehood.
Editing by Nadia Riva