Iran's ambassador to Baghdad receives the visiting Kurdistani delegation to discuss referendum in Baghdad on August 15, 2017.
Ambassador: Iran supportive of Kurdistani referendum delegation talks with Iraq
Iran’s ambassador to Iraq Iraj Masjedi said in a joint news conference with Kurdistan’s referendum delegation to Baghdad that the Islamic Republic of Iran supports any negotiation between the Kurdistan Region and Baghdad, and Iran supports any outcome or mutual understanding that results from the discussions between the two.
The Kurdish side saw the meeting with the Iranians as beneficial.
“In general, the meetings were positive and hopeful,” Dr Rozh Nuri Shaweys, head of Kurdistan’s delegation said.
The Kurdistani delegation is continuing its national dialogue.
“The solutions are open. We openly and without conditions spoke about the problems and parties which have become problems to the Kurdistan Region, and that which need to be resolved. The wish of Kurdistan’s nation to decide their future through referendum was also discussed,” Shaweys added.
The Kurdistani delgation believes the referendum will lead to peace.
“We have come to tell them not to see the referendum negatively because this is one solution which will in the future bring us closer to each other on the basis of brotherhood and shared interests,” Shaweys said.
Tehran wants continued discussions between Erbil and Baghdad.
Masjedi told reporters that it is important that Erbil and Baghdad work to reach an agreement through direct talks.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran supports any sort of negotiations between the [Kurdistan] Region and the central [government] in Baghdad. Iran will support and takes interest in any agreement they reach through negotiations.”
Asked by Rudaw about Iran’s stance of the referendum, Masjedi said they exchanged their views with the Kurdistani delegation emphasizing that they support any “negotiated agreement” between the two sides.
Iran has been more vocal in their opposition to the referendum than any other country, with the country’s national security advisor warning at one point that Erbil should not expect “good things” from Tehran in response to the referendum being held on September 25.
Iranian FM releases statement as referendum delegation visits embassy in Baghdad
Rudaw's correspondent in Baghdad has reported that the referendum delegation is meeting with Iranian officials at their embassy on Tuesday.
Bahraam Qasim, the spokesperson of the Iranian foreign ministry, also released a statement on Tuesday.
Qasim stated that Iran welcomes dialogue between Erbil and Baghdad. Through their unity, leaders and the people of Iraq have secured valuable achievements in confronting terrorism and liberating areas previously invaded by ISIS.
Qasim added that now, in a new phase, through the spirit of understanding, brotherhood, constructive dialogue between the two, stability and security which are essential to rebuild and develop Iraq, Erbil and Baghdad can take bigger steps.
The statement read that in this new phase, Iran is prepared to become partners with the Iraqi government and nation through rebuilding the country.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi (right) meets with a Kurdistani referendum delegation in Baghdad on Monday including Fuad Hussein, chief of staff to the Kurdish Presidency (center-left). Photo: Iraqi PMO
Kurdistani referendum delegation first meets with Iraqi PM Abadi
BAGHDAD, Iraq – A member of the Kurdistani referendum delegation that met with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi in Baghdad on Monday described the meeting as “hopeful,” while Abadi’s office said both sides agreed to continue constructive dialogue.
Saadi Ahmad Pira said they told PM Abadi that the Kurdistani nation has arrived at the belief to hold a referendum for independence, and this is because they are not certain of their future in Iraq, adding that they are still concerned and fear that war will break out between Erbil and Baghdad when the latter becomes stronger.
The delegation includes members of Kurdish and minority parties, including the two main ruling parties in Kurdistan, the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), and chief of staff to the Kurdish presidency Fuad Hussein.
Pira told reporters that the meeting was "very hopeful".
He quoted Abadi as saying that the Kurdistan Region has economic and political independence and the Peshmerga force who have not carried the Iraqi flag.
The high-level delegation arrived in Baghdad yesterday and is planning to hold several meetings this week with Iraqi officials including Abadi and current Vice President Nouri al-Maliki.
Maliki and Abadi are from the ruling Dawa Party.
The Prime Minister’s office confirmed Monday's meeting in a statement calling the dialogue “open and profound,” adding that the discussions were held about the necessity to enact proper mechanisms to resolve the outstanding problems in a positive climate.
The United States has encouraged Erbil and Baghdad to settle their differences through a national dialogue, calling the timing of the referendum “wrong.”
Abadi’s office explained that an agreement was made to continue constructive dialogue, explaining the Iraqi side is serious about achieving shared interests of the people of the Iraqi nation, removing the dangers and historical barriers which have piled up and protecting the integrity of Iraq.
Additionally, Abadi's office stated gratitude was shown in the meeting for the joint efforts of the Iraqi and Kurdistan Regional governments to regain control of Mosul and the importance of liberating the entire Iraqi territory from ISIS militants.
The delegation has prepared a lengthy report chronicling about 50 articles of the Iraqi constitution that Erbil says have been violated by Baghdad, mainly Article 140 that concerns the disputed or Kurdistani areas claimed by both governments, and the budget cut by Iraq since early 2014, with the latter masterminded by Maliki.
The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) tasked the Kurdish ministries in late July to prepare a dossier that may request the Iraqi government to pay hundreds of billions of dollars to Erbil as compensation when the two sides sit down to negotiate Kurdistan’s bid for independence.
The Kurdistan Region’s election body announced on Monday it had officially ratified and approved September 25 as the date for the independence referendum.