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PM Barzani: This was not the Iraq we wanted after 2003

By Rudaw 4/3/2018
Nechirvan Barzani speaks at a weekly press conference in Erbil on March 4, 2018. Photo: Rudaw TV
Nechirvan Barzani speaks at a weekly press conference in Erbil on March 4, 2018. Photo: Rudaw TV

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — KRG Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani expressed that Iraq was founded after 2003 on the basis of partnership and the budget passed on Saturday did not underscore that.

The premier said at a press conference on Sunday it was "unfortunate" that the Iraqi bill was approved without meeting Kurdish demands because they reflect the government and the people.

The work of the Kurdish blocs in Baghdad was "appreciated" by Barzani.

“I want to thank all Kurdish factions for their attempts recently to guarantee Kurdish share in the budget,” he said, while promising to speak with all Kurdish parties and MPs.

“Despite all the internal issues in Kurdistan, all Kurds in Baghdad strived for Kurdistan's interests,” Barzani said.

He stressed that he believes dialogue is the only way to resolve pending issues and he remains "hopeful."

“I am in constant contact with Prime Minister [Haider al-Abadi] to resolve issues,” said Barzani.

He expressed that the Kurdistan Region has sought to build an inclusive Iraq, not one based on majority rule that marginalizes other components.

Iraq was founded on partnership, according to Barzani, it was founded on the basis that constitution would decide everything.

Barzani said the KRG wants issues to be resolved through dialogue and constitution, and Kurdish people are expecting Iraqi President Fuad Masum, a Kurd, to have a stance in protecting the constitutional rights of Kurds.


He also pledged to pay the salaries of civil servants whatever the cost.


“We will continue [to work] with Baghdad concerning these matters. Our main goal for continuing [this relationship] is to obtain the requirements of the region and the citizens of the Kurdistan Region. We have established this as a principle. We will distribute salaries from the revenues we have and what we receive, regardless of how much it is,” said Barzani. 

“Baghdad is not owned by the people currently there. Baghdad is ours as well. Why should we behave as though Baghdad is owned by a political party or a certain component? We have to play a role in Baghdad. We have to have a political role in Baghdad. If we do reach an impasse, we have to let the people of Kurdistan know.

“We are committed to this partnership, but how committed is Baghdad to the partnership? The budget bill demonstrates that Baghdad is not committed to partnership, unfortunately.”

Iraq passed a budget bill on Saturday that doesn't meet the needs of the KRG. 

Sunni MPs participating in the session allowed for a quorum with the Shiite-dominated parliament, which  their Kurdish counterparts see as a political coup, but could be an “opportunity.”

Kurds claim their share is neither sufficient nor fair and have a list of demands, namely on receiving their 17-percent share of the budget.

A State of Law bloc MP said at a press conference in Baghdad that the Kurdistan Region’s “dream” of restoring its 17-percent budget share “will not come true.”


Barzani highlighted the contradicting position of the United States.

"If I see them, I am going to tell them: 'In the statement you issued saying we want a strong Kurdistan Regional Government to exist, just define it for me. What does a strong Kurdistan Regional Government mean?' " he said.


The US State Department policy is “a strong KRG within a ‎unified and federal Iraq is essential to its long-term stability."

Barzani added: "I am going to tell them this, 'Is it right and matching the policy you are pursuing now. Is there really a strong regional government or not?' "


The 2018 budget dispute was the latest chapter in what has been the new Iraq.


“This was not the Iraq we wanted after 2003," said Barzani.

Last updated at 5 p.m.


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Muraz Adzhoev | 4/3/2018
As far as “he stressed that he believes dialogue is the only way to resolve pending issues and he remains "hopeful”, then he should explain very clearly for how long and what for the People of Southern Kurdistan have to tolerate Baghdad’s mockery, criminal and punitive fascist policy. He’s obviously too much wrong and unreasonable in terms of the real circumstances and conditions. The withdrawal of Southern Kurdistan from Iraq by all means is absolutely reasonable, necessary and inevitable already. It’s time for the High Political Council of Southern Kurdistan headed by Masoud Mustafa Barzani to reactivate at last and lead the national-patriotic movement and the struggle of the People for freedom and independence.
Muraz Adzhoev | 4/3/2018
This “politicized diplomacy”, which is based on a useless “dialogue” with hostile Baghdad, must be urgently changed for the very decisive and forceful diplomacy based on the legitimate outcome of the Referendum of the convincingly self-determined People of Southern Kurdistan. Only in this way the historical, legal, humanitarian justice can prevail and be recognized by the international community. The KRG and the Parliament of the KR should not make “one step forward and two backwards”. It is unacceptable, very wrong “political diplomacy” in relations with enemies.
love peshmerga, Ak USA | 4/3/2018
I hate to say this but Iraqi dictatorship does not understand nor accept dialogue. how much time will we give this dictatorship in Baghdad? The time should be over for dialogue and find other ways to deal with them. If ALL kurds UNITE other options will be so much easier to accomplish. LONG LIVE PESHEMRGA
Kurdo | 4/3/2018
@Muraz, Agree with you but we remember what happened in Kirkuk not long time ago. The most urgent thing to do is to unite Kurds in all parts of Kurdistan. I am sure Kirkuk would still be in our control if they let YPG help for example. Turks wouldn’t dare to attack Afrin. If Barzani had said something Erdoğan would probably not attack Nosebin, Cizre and Sirnex. If Turks knew Kurds in Basur and Bakur were united they would not threaten Basur about the referendum. Everything that happens to us happens because our leaders are not united. Iraq would not dare to attack Kirkuk if Barzani and Talabani were united. As you see, we have the best chance in over 100 years, but our leaders are fully busy attacking each other, trying to increase the amount on their bank accounts. They have not learned to make different between the state budget and their on pocket. In this times, when Middle East is shaking in the grounds, we should use the opportunity t crack down on the enemy and be free. It is time to wake up, or we will miss this opportunity also. Unite the biggest political parties, PKK, PDK, YNK and Gorran. That would mean a very strong Kurdish people, that would probably means freedom for our people.
Muraz Adzhoev | 4/3/2018
Masoud Barzani said, -“The uprising reminds us that the rights are not given, but they are taken”. He means that the outcome of the Referendum must be implemented decisively and without any hesitation by appropriate political, diplomatic and, if necrdsaty, even by military measures.
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