ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – Vice-president of Iraq Osama al-Nujaifi on Sunday called for “an open and comprehensive dialogue” between Erbil and Baghdad to resolve their differences peacefully, stating the continuation of current crisis would not benefit Iraq.
An unprecedented crisis erupted between Erbil and Baghdad following the historic referendum on independence held in the Kurdistan Region on Sep. 25, which saw an overwhelming support for secession.
The continuation of the crisis between the two sides “is not in the interest of Iraq,” especially for the future of the country despite its recent victory over the Islamic State (IS), Nujaifi said.
Nujaifi, one of the most influential Sunni leaders in Iraq, was quoted by his press office after meeting Turkish Ambassador to Iraq, Fatih Yildiz, in Baghdad on Sunday.
Although the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and the Federal Government of Iraq have shown their readiness for dialogue, there are no indications that talks will start anytime soon.
Kurdish leaders say Baghdad wants to impose "impossible" conditions before initiating dialogue.
Nujaifi, who still maintains good relations with the leaders of Kurdistan, said that the Iraqi government should begin an “open and comprehensive dialogue with the region to discuss the problems, obstacles, and violations that took place in the past, to reach agreements within the framework of the Iraqi Constitution.”
Earlier this week, Nujaifi held talks in Erbil with the former President of the Kurdistan Region, Masoud Barzani, and discussed the ongoing crisis between Erbil and Baghdad.
Baghdad has refused to hold talks with Erbil unless the Kurds agree to its terms, which include a full annulment of the results of the referendum, and handing over control of the airports, oil exports, and international border crossings to the central government.
On multiple occasions, the KRG has called on the international community to act as a mediator and lay the groundwork for talks to begin with the Iraqi government.
The Kurdistan Region wants a third party to oversee and guarantee negotiations, but Baghdad maintains its position, stating the tensions are an internal Iraqi issue and that the presence of an arbiter is unnecessary.
Editing by Nadia Riva