Russian FM: Moscow ready to mediate Erbil-Baghdad conflict
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Monday said that Russia is ready to mediate between the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and the Federal Government of Iraq to resolve their disputes.
Ties between Erbil and Baghdad have considerably deteriorated following the Sep. 25 referendum, which saw an overwhelming majority vote for statehood.
“Russia is ready to mediate between Erbil and Baghdad to address their differences” peacefully, Lavrov said in response to a Kurdistan 24 correspondent’s question during a press conference in Moscow.
Following the independence vote, Baghdad imposed a series of collective punitive measures against the Kurdistan Region, including an international flight ban to and from the Erbil and Sulaimani airports. The federal government also used military force against the Region to retake the oil-rich province of Kirkuk and other disputed territories which were under the protection of the Kurdish Peshmerga.
Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Region Nechirvan Barzani has repeatedly called for dialogue with the Iraqi government to put an end to tensions and has asked the international community to facilitate talks and act as a mediator, which Baghdad has refused, claiming the conflicts are an internal matter.
On Saturday, a Kurdish delegation, led by the Kurdistan Region’s Interior Minister Karim Sinjari (Shingali), visited Baghdad to begin negotiations with the Iraqi federal government over sanctions imposed on the Region.
A delegation from the Iraqi government arrived in Erbil on Monday to discuss the international flight ban on the Kurdistan Region’s airports and disputes over the control of border crossings.
Editing by Nadia Riva