Kurdistan Region Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani (R) met with US Ambassador Douglas Silliman (L) on Tuesday. Photo: KRG
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Kurdistan’s prime minister and the US ambassador to Iraq called for efforts to calm the situation between Erbil and Baghdad following Kurdistan’s independence referendum.
Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani met with Ambassador Douglas Silliman on Tuesday. US Consul in Erbil, Ken Gross, also attended the meeting.
“Both parties agreed that local and international parties should try to calm the situation and serious dialogue should be held between Erbil and Baghdad in order to resolve the problems,” read a statement issued by Erbil after the meeting.
The US opposed Kurdistan’s referendum and has refused to recognize the result, calling the vote “destabilizing.” The US is concerned about detracting from the war against ISIS and stabilization efforts in Iraq.
After the vote, the Kurdish leadership has expressed their willingness to engage in dialogue with Baghdad with the aim of achieving independence. Leaders in Iraq, however, have said Erbil must negate the results prior to agreeing to talks, an ultimatum Kurds have refused to agree to, leaving the two governments at an impasse.
Baghdad has enacted a number of measures against Kurdistan, including shutting the airports to international flights and ordering the deployment of troops to disputed areas.
A State Department spokesperson said that the US would help facilitate conversations between Erbil and Baghdad, but only if asked.