ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – The Iraqi and Kurdish governments have agreed to prepare a blueprint agreement this Monday on their outstanding issues including international border points and airports that are located in the Kurdistan Region, according to a statement from a senior Kurdish delegation who visited Baghdad on Saturday.
Iraq introduced a ban on international flights to and from the Kurdistan Region in late September after the Kurdish vote on independence.
The agreement will work to “resume activities” to international entry points and then be presented to the Iraqi federal government for approval.
The announcement comes following a meeting between the two sides headed by the Kurdish and Iraqi interior ministers.
The Iraqi interior minister reiterated the need to discuss solving problems of the international entry points, customs, airports, and dams “on the basis of the constitution and federal laws,” the statement published by the Kurdish delegation on Saturday evening read.
Qasim al-Araji, the Iraqi minister, told the Kurdish delegation that the Iraqi prime minister has emphasized the need to solve problems between Erbil and Baghdad in a way that allows institutions such as the airports to “resume their activities,” the statement said.
The two sides have agreed to hold a bilateral meeting in Erbil on Monday to prepare a joint statement that will include “solutions to be reached.”
Some of the solutions will need the approval of the Council of Ministers of the Iraqi government that concerns “resuming those activities that take place at the border points, airports, and dams,” the statement explained, and therefore the two sides will jointly present such solutions to the government of Iraq.
Kurdish interior minister praised the “initiative” of Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to solve the problems between the two governments that will serve the interests of the entire country including the Kurdistan Region, according to the Kurdish announcement.
PM Abadi last Tuesday stated that he ordered some Iraqi ministries and the military to hold talks with their counterparts in the Kurdistan Region to solve issues including that of the Kurdish airports, and disputes over international borders.
KRG interior minister holds 'productive' meeting with Iraqi counterpart, official
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – A senior delegation of the Kurdish government who visited the Iraqi capital on Saturday held a "productive" meeting with their Iraqi counterpart on outstanding issues including the Baghdad-imposed ban on international flights, the spokesperson for the Iraqi interior ministry told Rudaw.
The delegation headed by KRG's interior minister Karim Sinjari met with his Iraqi counterpart Qasim al-Araji in Baghdad today.
Acting minister of transport Mawlud Bawamurad, heads of the two Kurdish airports of Erbil and Sulaimani, as well other senior Kurdish officials from the interior ministry attended the meeting.
Saad Maan, the Iraqi spokesperson, said that the two sides will hold a second meeting on Monday to discuss "details" of the outstanding issues.
"The meeting was productive," he said, adding that the Kurdish delegation showed a "clear understanding" in solving the problems "based on the constitution."
He explained that one reason why there are "accumulated problems" between Erbil and Baghdad is because of lack of real communication between them.
The Kurdish delegation left Baghdad to Erbil following the meeting today.
The Iraqi government imposed a ban on international flights to and from the Kurdistan Region since late September, only days after the Kurdish people voted to leave Iraq.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi on Tuesday ordered the Iraqi military to resume security talks with their Kurdish counterparts and announced another delegation will discuss international borders with KRG authorities.
“I instructed for meetings of the military committee to take place on a more regular basis,” Abadi said then, adding that the chief of staff of the Iraqi military will head Baghdad’s delegation and the Peshmerga minister will head the Kurdish side.
Abadi said there would be a “big delegation” to resolve the issue of Kurdistan’s international borders.
The Iraqi prime minister had said earlier that the constitution allows for joint administration of entry points, including airports, but maintained that the border strip must be under the exclusive federal authorities.
Erbil has stated on many occasions that they are ready to negotiate with Baghdad within the framework of the Iraqi constitution. The KRG has demanded joint administration of the borders.
KRG’s Interior Ministry delegation arrives in Baghdad for talks
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – A KRG delegation headed by Interior Minister Karim Sinjari arrived in Baghdad on Saturday to meet with his Iraqi counterpart. They are expected to discuss re-opening Erbil and Sulaimani airports and the question of border-crossings.
A source from Iraq’s Interior Ministry confirmed to Rudaw on Friday that the Kurdish delegation will also meet with other ministers in Baghdad.
The past few weeks have seen the first real movement towards rebuilding ties between Erbil and Baghdad and finding solutions to the many problems that plague their relations in the wake of Kurdistan’s independence vote and punitive measures adopted by the central government.
Technical delegations from Erbil and Baghdad have met in both capitals, largely discussing the matter of the central government paying the KRG’s civil servant salaries.
Delegations from three opposition parties, Gorran, the Islamic Group (Komal), and the newly founded Coalition for Democracy and Justice (CDJ) on the one hand, and Bafel Talabani, the eldest son of late Iraqi President Jalal Talabani and an influential member of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), separately visited Baghdad earlier this month.
Both held talks with senior Baghdad officials, including Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi.
KRG Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani, backed by international allies in Germany and France, has said on several occasions that his government is ready to engage in talks and resolve problems in accordance with the Iraqi constitution.