ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – Iraqi President Fuad Masum is making progress in his attempts to begin a dialogue between the Kurdistan Region and Iraq to resolve the ongoing disputes, a Kurdish lawmaker said on Monday.
“Baghdad’s top authorities are expected to meet next week, during which Masum’s calls for the start of dialogue might be discussed,” Kurdish lawmaker Nada Mergasouri was quoted by Iraqi media.
“A meeting between Erbil and Baghdad will possibly happen in the near future,” Mergasouri stated, adding the Iraqi President’s initiative was in progress and would be successful.
Last month, Masum confirmed that delegations from the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and the Federal Government of Iraq would hold negotiations at the beginning of 2018.
Without specifying a date, the Iraqi President said talks would be launched “after the New Year Holiday.”
Masum reportedly sent two separate letters to KRG Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani and his Iraqi counterpart Haider al-Abadi, calling for talks to begin as soon as possible.
The Kurdish Iraqi president also claimed a third party would be present for the negotiations, hinting that UN Special Representative for Iraq Jan Kubis would play an important role in mediating the meeting.
Tensions between the KRG and the Iraqi government have considerably increased following Kurdistan’s Sep. 25, 2017, 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.