ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – Chancellor of the Kurdistan Region Security Council (KRSC) Masrour Barzani on Saturday called on Baghdad to abandon threats of collective punishment and comply with calls for dialogue.
“The New Year has come at a time when the people of Kurdistan are paying the price for holding a democratic [referendum] after sacrificing everything to fight terrorism and push evil out of the region,” the KRSC Chancellor said in a statement on the occasion of New Years.
“The mentality of the rulers in Baghdad, which often enforce methods of imposition and do not accept the natural rights of people, led to the dire conditions suffered by the people of Kurdistan,” he continued.
“The Iraqi government must abandon the method of threat and intimidation as well as collective punishment” against the Kurds, Barzani added.
Tensions between the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and the Iraqi government have considerably increased following Kurdistan’s Sep. 25 independence referendum.
The historic vote received widespread support for secession from Iraq, but Baghdad refused to recognize the results and instead responded by imposing collective punitive measures against Kurdistan, including the use of military force in disputed areas.
The KRG has shown its flexibility, offering to freeze the results of the referendum, but Baghdad demands a full annulment as well as the handover of airports and border crossings as a precondition for the start of negotiations.
The KRSC head called on Baghdad to submit to the repeated calls of officials in the Kurdistan Region who want “to start a dialogue to resolve all differences through negotiations and away from the language of violence and war.”
Chancellor Barzani concluded by congratulating “all the citizens of the Kurdistan Region and all people of the world,” expressing hope the New Year will be “a year of good and peace.”