Military option cannot resolve Erbil-Baghdad differences, increases issues: PM Barzani
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – Military activities are not in the interest of anyone and dialogue between Erbil and Baghdad should begin immediately to resolve outstanding issues, said a Kurdish official on Tuesday.
The Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General (SRSG) for Iraq Ján Kubiš met with the Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Region in Erbil.
“The only solution [for the current tensions between Erbil and Baghdad] is a serious dialogue between both sides,” Barzani said, according to his press office. “The Kurdistan Region has always called for constructive dialogue before and after the referendum.”
He highlighted the role of the United Nations and the US-led Coalition members in facilitating negotiations and dialogue between the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and the Federal Government of Iraq.
“Military operations should cease as they do not benefit the security and stability in the region, and will only create additional problems,” Barzani added.
During the meeting, Kubiš stated that they will work with Baghdad to put an end to military activities, and called for the de-escalation of tensions on both sides and focus on helping displaced people return to their homes.
On the occasion of UN Day, Kubiš released a statement.
“The terrorist Daesh [Islamic State (IS)] organization is largely defeated although it remains a potent enemy and fighting it continues to be a priority. This is allowing many of the millions who have been displaced by this conflict to return home to rebuild their lives.”
“This is also a chance to revisit and reform the functioning of the political system in a way that will open for all the components and minorities, for all Iraqis in the post-Daesh Iraq new perspectives as equal citizens with equal rights and opportunities, thus putting an end to the recurrent cycles of violence and terrorism.”
He mentioned that Iraq was breathing a sigh of relief with the defeat of the jihadist group. “The country was hit recently by another crisis, this time between Baghdad and Erbil. The post-Daesh period has brought to the forefront many serious problems which have accumulated over the years and remain unresolved. “That concerns among others, critical issues between Baghdad and Erbil, including deficiencies in the implementation of the Iraqi Constitution,” he added.
Ties between the two capitals have considerably deteriorated following the Sep. 25 referendum on independence for the Kurdistan Region. The vote was met with a set of punitive measures taken against the Kurdistan Region, including military incursions.
“Both sides publicly expressed their willingness to engage in dialogue and negotiations on the basis of the Constitution. The UN is ready to assist if requested, as it assists already in dealing with the humanitarian consequences and human rights violations that are tragically occurring as well, in Tuz Khurmatu, Kirkuk and some other places,” Kubiš added.
The UN envoy noted that they were confident that both Erbil and Baghdad can come together and overcome their differences in a manner that is consistent with the Constitution of Iraq, just like how they banded together against the IS.
Editing by G.H. Renaud