ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – A high-level delegation from the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) is expected to visit Baghdad for the first time since the Iraqi government imposed punitive measures against the Region following the independence referendum, a source told Kurdistan 24 on Friday.
The delegation, headed by the KRG’s Minister of Interior, Karim Sinjari (Shingali), will visit the Iraqi capital on Saturday to discuss the outstanding issues between Erbil and Baghdad.
“The KRG delegation will hold meetings with Iraq’s Minister of Interior and Minister of Transportation to discuss the border crossings and lifting the flight ban on the Kurdistan Region’s airports,” the source said.
In a statement on Jan. 2, the KRG said it welcomed “any positive steps for dialogue toward resolving the issues between the Kurdistan Region and the Federal Government of Iraq on the basis of the Iraqi Constitution.”
“The KRG is ready to hold a dialogue with the Iraqi government over managing the border crossings and airports in accordance with the mechanism set by the Iraqi Constitution,” the statement noted.
Recently, a joint delegation from the ministries of Health and Education in the Kurdistan Region visited Baghdad to provide a list of employees to the Iraqi government to begin the process of receiving salaries for people at the two KRG ministries.
Ties between Erbil and Baghdad have considerably deteriorated following the Sep. 25 referendum, which saw an overwhelming majority vote for statehood.
Baghdad refused to recognize the vote and instead responded by imposing collective punitive measures against the people of Kurdistan, including the use of military force in disputed areas.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany