German FM sets precondition for Iraq, Kurdistan to receive aid
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – Germany’s aid to Iraq and the Kurdistan Region will continue if the country resolves its internal issues peacefully, according to German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel.
Gabriel on Monday received the Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Region, Nechirvan Barzani, in Berlin and discussed a number of matters, including the current escalation of Erbil-Baghdad tensions.
“Our support is for Iraq as a unified state,” Gabriel told reporters after meeting with Barzani. “We want to maintain it, but the precondition is that Iraq solves its internal conflicts peacefully and democratically and that we find a way out of the tense situation we are in now.”
Since 2014, Germany has provided over one billion euros in humanitarian, development and stabilization aid to Iraq and the Kurdistan Region, making it one of the biggest international donors.
Barzani highlighted Kurdistan’s determination to work with the central government in Baghdad and called on Germany to play a more prominent role in mediating negotiations between the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and the Federal Government of Iraq.
He thanked Germany and the US-led coalition for supporting the Kurdistan Region and Iraq during their difficult times in terms of humanitarian aid, and military armament and training against the Islamic State (IS).
“We thank Germany for its support of the constitutional rights of the Kurdistan Region within a federal, democratic and constitutional Iraq,” Barzani said, calling for Germany and the international community to continue supporting the Kurdistan Region and its institutions.
The Kurdish Premier reminded that most of the victims of IS’ barbaric mass executions were the Kurdish Ezidi and Christian people.
“Neither us nor the international community can be silent about such monstrous crimes [of IS],” he added.
The Kurdistan Region now is home to 1.5 million refugees and displaced people who fled from the threats of the jihadist group.
Barzani stressed the need for dialogue with Baghdad to resolve their long-standing disputes peacefully within the framework of the Iraqi constitution.
“We have no problem with the presence of the federal government’s authority in the border crossings and airports based on the Iraqi constitution. We are ready for a serious dialogue to resolve issues peacefully and bring stability to the region,” the Kurdish official noted.
“If we want stability in Iraq, all the articles of the Iraqi constitution should be implemented. The constitution, for which most of the people in Iraq voted to enact, should be respected and implemented as it is,” Barzani stated.
Editing by Nadia Riva