ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Iraq’s long-overdue census in 2020 should not be politicized or used against any ethnic and religious groups, Kurdistan Region Prime Minister Masrour Barzani said on Tuesday.
Prime Minister Barzani made the comments during a meeting with Iraq’s Planning Minister Nouri Sabah al-Dulaimi in Erbil.
During the meeting, the Iraqi minister said there is a good chance to resolve the outstanding disputes between Erbil and Baghdad peacefully, within the framework of Iraq’s Constitution as the relations between both sides have significantly improved, a statement from Barzani’s press office read.
The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and the Federal Government of Iraq have long-standing issues related to budget, oil and gas, disputed territories, and a lack of respect for the country’s constitution.
Dulaimi praised the experience of the autonomous Kurdish region over the past decades, describing it as “successful and well-established.”
Barzani affirmed the Kurdistan Region’s commitment to resolving differences peacefully in accordance with the constitution, the statement said.
Both sides also underscored the importance of conducting the 2020 census in Iraq.
“The census is an important step to gather information and data, which is a very helpful tool in planning,” Barzani said, according to the statement. The Kurdish leader also hoped the process would not be used for political purposes any of the ethnic and religious components in Iraq.
Ties between Erbil and Baghdad were considerably strained in late 2017 following the Kurdistan Region’s historic independence referendum, which saw a landslide majority favor statehood.
Following the formation of the new Iraqi government led by Prime Minister Adil Abdul Mahdi in late 2018, relations between both sides have significantly improved.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany