ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — The visiting Kurdish delegation during their meeting with the prime minister of Iraq on Wednesday night discussed possible ways of removing the stumbling block before the reactivation of the controversial 140 Article and laying the groundwork to hold a census in the city of Kirkuk.
According to a readout of the meeting published by Haider al-Abadi’s office, an agreement has been reached between Abadi and the Kurdish delegation to reactivate the 140 Article and hold a general census across the province once [ISIS] militants have been driven out of some key areas the group still holds, including Hawija, Rashad and Riyaz.
Article 140 of the Iraqi constitution calls for normalization of areas it refers to as disputed, to be followed by a referendum on whether or not those regions want to be part of the Kurdistan Region.
According to the constitution, the article should have been implemented by the end of 2007, and so far no referendum has been conducted on this issue.
This statement comes as the high-ranking Kurdish delegation comprised of the ruling Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) are meeting with authorities in Baghdad including leaders from the major Iraqi political parties.
“The right of the people of Kurdistan to self-determination and referendum will be on the table. We want to find political and peaceful ways to address this issue with Baghdad, so that we arrive at an understanding while the interests of both sides are preserved,” said Adnan Mufti, a member of the Kurdish delegation.
Abadi told Rudaw in an interview last week that an immediate referendum may not be the best approach.
"Kirkuk is for all the people of Kirkuk with all its communities. There are Kurds, Arabs, Turkmen, Christians and others in Kirkuk who must live together,” Abadi said. “I think the issue should not be deal[t] with in the context of majority because that is the matter of coexistence and coexistence means living in one frame.”
Hamid al-Khazri of the National Alliance faction in the Iraqi parliament led by Hakim told Rudaw, the timing is not right for the Kurds to go forward for the referendum as Iraq suffers from many crisis, as does the Kurdistan Region.
He urged the unification of all the efforts from all the parties to erase ISIS in Iraq as the group’s poses serious threat to all the nations and groups living in Iraq.
Commenting on raising Kurdistan flag in Kirkuk which drew condemnation and praise on a regional scale, the national alliance MP said “the Kurdish brothers should think logically and wisely.”
He believes this question has to be resolved “within the framework of the constitution.”
In addition to Khazri’s comments, Ziya Asadi, in charge of the Political Board of the Sadir Movement, led by the Shiite leader Muqtada al-Sadir, said “we have to respect any decree made within the context of the constitution and understanding between the KRG [Kurdistan Regional Government] and Baghdad," referring to the controversial hoist of the Kurdistan flag in Kirkuk.
The delegation is also holding meeting on Thursday with Ammar al-Hakim, leader of the Shiite National Alliance and leader of Iraq’s Supreme Council, and will hold a string of meeting with other officials.
Yesterday the Kurdish delegation met with Iraqi officials including President Fuad Masum and Salim al-Jabouri, the speaker of the parliament.