ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) is on the right track as it moves toward improving relations between Erbil and Baghdad, Sasha Toperich, a former diplomat and human rights advocate, told Kurdistan 24 in a recent interview.
Toperich, currently a Senior Fellow and Director at Johns Hopkins University in Washington DC, spoke to Kurdistan 24 following a conference organized by the public policy think-tank, American Enterprise Institute.
“I think the Prime Minister, Nechirvan Barzani, and the KRG government are [moving in] the right direction” to resolve the ongoing disputes with Iraq and Kurdistan, he said.
“As we know, there are discussions with Baghdad, but we would love to see them moving faster and moving stronger,” Toperich added, stating he hoped the negotiations “create and enhance stability and economic prosperity in the Kurdistan Region.”
Relations between the KRG and the Iraqi government have deteriorated since Kurdistan’s referendum last September which resulted in Baghdad imposing punitive measures on Erbil.
The former diplomat noted that issues which led the KRG to hold the independence vote in the first place were finally being addressed as delegations from Erbil and Baghdad continue to exchange visits and discuss solutions.
“We will monitor the situation very closely, and I believe in the coming months there will be more progress achieved,” Toperich stated. “The KRG is doing [everything] in the right fashion.”
Toperich, who once served as the Presidential Envoy of Bosnia to the United States, was the first high-ranking diplomat from Bosnia and Herzegovina to visit Baghdad officially after the fall of Saddam Hussein.
He served as a Consellor at the Permanent Mission of Bosnia and Herzegovina to the United Nations from 2009 to 2010.
Toperich is also a Fellow at the Soran University Research Center in the Kurdistan Region.