Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi speaking at his weekly press conference. Photo: Iraqi PM Media Office
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Iraq’s prime minister said he welcomed the decision of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) with respect to the Federal Court ruling on secession.
“We welcome the decision made by the Kurdistan Regional Government,” Haider al-Abadi said in his weekly news conference on Tuesday.
Earlier in the day, the KRG issued a statement that they would respect the court’s interpretation
of Article 1 of the constitution and expressed hope that the court decision could be used as basis to begin “inclusive national dialogue between Erbil and Baghdad.”
Abadi stressed that the constitution protects the integrity of Iraq, “ensuring security, stability and enforcing the federal authority in all places. This stance serves the interests of our citizens, especially Kurdish citizens.”
He called on the KRG to “coordinate and cooperate” with respect to oil revenues, airports, and borders.
He said that he has asked the military committee, which has been tasked with negotiating terms with the Peshmerga, “to form a high committee to prevent any unjustifiable confrontation or casualty. We don’t want any military confrontations to happen.”
Abadi also said his government would “regain control over border areas without escalation. We will not wait forever, we will take action regarding the border areas.”
Baghdad wants to bring Kurdistan Region’s international borders under federal control – one of the steps the central government has taken in the wake of Kurdistan’s independence vote.
Iraq particularly wants access to the borders in order to export Kirkuk oil via a pipeline to Turkey.
Deputy Peshmerga Minister Sarbast Lazgin told Rudaw last week that they have made it clear in discussions with their Iraqi counterparts that they are not ready to hand over the border crossings, “but through the context of political talks between Erbil and Baghdad, we are ready to administrate them with coalition partners.”
The KRG, backed by the United States and United Nations among others, have repeatedly called on Baghdad to sit down for political talks to resolve their problems. Baghdad, however, has set preconditions, not least of which is cancellation of the result of the independence referendum.
In his press conference on Tuesday, Abadi also reiterated his government’s commitment to paying the salaries of KRG employees.
Amid concerns about the structural integrity of Darbandikhan Dam when cracks appeared after Sunday’s earthquake, Abadi said the dam “is in no danger.”
Updated at 9:06 pm