US Reiterates Support for Elections and Broad Political Reconciliation in Kurdistan Region
WASHINGTON DC, United States (Kurdistan 24) – “We commend Kurdish parties for coming together to resolve issues through dialogue—Iraq in general and the Kurdistan Region in particular,” State Department Deputy Spokesperson Vedant Patel said in response to a question about the decision to hold elections in the Kurdistan Region later this year.
Patel’s statement came amid a more extensive rapprochement among the political parties in the Kurdistan Region that has been welcomed by Canada, the U.K., the U.S., European Union (EU), and nine EU countries.
Elections in the Kurdistan Region were supposed to be held last year, but differences between the two major parties led to their postponement.
However, earlier this year, on February 28, the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) announced that the delayed vote would be held this year.
“We welcome efforts by the parties to reach an agreement on holding Iraqi Kurdistan Parliamentary elections,” a State Department Spokesperson told Kurdistan 24 then, stressing “elections are the hallmarks of democracy.”
Most recently, the Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), Masrour Barzani, in a May 5 meeting with two senior German officials visiting Erbil, affirmed the need to hold the Kurdistan Region’s elections, scheduled for Nov. 18, in a timely fashion.
Broader Reconciliation among Kurdish Parties
More generally, there has been a broader reconciliation between the two major Kurdish parties. It has been strongly encouraged by the Western democracies, and it is ongoing.
For the first time in six months, the PUK ministerial team, including Deputy Prime Minister, Qubad Talabani, participated in the Council of Ministers meeting on May 14.
The U.S. Consulate General in Erbil announced that it “welcomes the return of PUK ministers to [KRG] Council of Ministers on reaching an agreement with the KDP on critical issues,” adding that the Consulate looks forward to “close cooperation” with the Kurdisn government on topics of mutual interest.
On Tuesday, twelve countries and the EU issued a joint statement hailing the Kurdish commitment—people as well as their government—to principles of democracy.
“The Consulates General and diplomatic representations of the UK, US, Germany, the Netherlands, Canada, the EU, France, Czechia, Greece, Italy, Bulgaria, Poland and Romania commend the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, the Kurdistan Regional Parliament, and the people of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq for their ongoing commitment to democratic principles and,” it said.
They also welcomed “the renewed spirit of cooperation between the parties,” while they urged the Kurdish government and parliament to “take all necessary steps to ensure that elections take place without further postponement.”
The following day, on Wednesday, Safeen Dizayee, head of the KRG’s Department of Foreign Relations, welcomed the statement, which he described as “support for the current positive political environment in Kurdistan and holding the forthcoming Parliamentary election.”
“We value your continued support and friendship with the Kurdistan Region and look forward to the international community’s assistance in ensuring a successful, free and fair election,” he concluded.