Baghdad and Erbil open to talks / Photo: Rudaw
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – The Iraqi government has revealed its key conditions to hold talks with the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) on the current crisis in the region: controlling the airports, border ports and disputed areas.
“The Iraqi government has not specified any timeline to receive an official Kurdish delegation to hold talks with Baghdad. However, the door for dialogue is always open to anyone or any negotiating delegation,” Saad Adisi, spokesperson for Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s media office, said in a news conference on Saturday.
“Holding any talks with Baghdad will surely be on the basis of conditions, namely the integrity of Iraq, the constitution, handing over border ports, airports, the country’s wealth, Peshmerga forces, Kurdish security establishments, enforcing the law in disputed areas and preventing any move which might be taken by the Kurdistan Region contrary to the constitution,” he added.
“Talks on the referendum and its results will in no way be held. The Iraqi government has relied on the verdict of the court to nullify the results of the referendum,” he detailed.
The Hashd al-Shaabi and Iraqi army forces on October 16, 2017, launched an attack on Khurmatu and Kirkuk. In the attack, Kirkuk was captured after some Peshmerga forces retreated and didn't defend the area. These forces subsequently captured other areas outside the administration of the KRG.
The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) had welcomed recent overtures from Abadi for dialogue to resolve disputes between Erbil and Baghdad on the basis of the Iraqi constitution and within the framework of their partnership and agreements.
The KRG has not yet responded to today's pre-conditions.
Abadi said earlier this week they still believe that dialogue is a solution for resolving outstanding issues between the two sides and invited Kurds to begin a “new relationship.”
The KRG laid out their stance in a statement published after a meeting on Thursday. They made it clear that the will of the people of Kurdistan cannot be shattered by weapons and military measures and that the problems “engulfing Iraq cannot be resolved in this way.”
The UN has issued a statement expressing concern of looting in disputed areas and forced displacement from Khurmatu and Kirkuk, mainly of Kurdish residents. It urged Baghdad to protect all civilians.
The people of the Kurdistan Region and disputed areas voted for independence on September 25 with 92.7 percent choosing to leave Iraq.