Former Iraqi PM: one country binds us together
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan24) – On Monday, Nuri al-Maliki, former prime Minister of Iraq and leader of the State of Law bloc in Iraqi parliament visited the city of Sulaimani to "congratulate the PUK-Gorran coalition."
The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani in a press conference on Tuesday commented on Nuri al-Maliki's visit, saying that he was invited by the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) and Gorran [Change] Movement as a party leader and he would be welcomed in Erbil as well.
“I am not sure what Maliki’s intentions were in visiting Sulaimani but if he had positive intentions, he would have visited Erbil as well,” Barzani said.
In a press conference following his meeting with the PUK political bureau, Maliki said, “The purpose of the visit was to discuss the issues stranded between Erbil and Baghdad and to find a solution.”
“My visit to Sulaimani is natural. We are people of one country and that binds us together. We have common interests and various challenges," he added.
Maliki was scheduled to visit Halabja on Tuesday, but the visit was cancelled due to unannounced reasons.
Prior to the cancellation of the visit, two local activists were arrested in Halabja for organizing an unauthorized protest against Maliki’s visit to the city. The two activists were later released.
Maliki’s government is responsible for having cut Kurdistan Region’s 17 percent share in the Iraqi budget since 2014, a decision that pushed the Region into acute economic and financial crisis.
Editing by Ava Homa