Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani warned Iraqi parties not to set conditions for participating in the government on Friday.
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region—Kurdish negotiators in Baghdad say their demands to settle long-standing disputes between Erbil and Baghdad are paramount in discussions with top officials.
The negotiators are making several demands of the new government, including implementing Article 140, sending the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) its share of Iraq’s oil revenue, arming the Peshmerga forces and settling disputes over oil in the Kurdistan Region, said Najib Balatayi, one of the Kurdish delegates in Baghdad.
“The Kurdish parties have agreed to ensure the Kurdish conditions first and then talking about the Kurdish posts in the Iraqi government because the Kurdish posts in the Iraqi government are secondary to the conditions Kurds have set,” Balatayi said.
Prime Minister-elect Haider al-Abadi is trying to line up a cabinet and is pushing for a national unity government that includes Kurds and Sunni Arabs. Both groups have conditions for participating in the government that could hold up the formation of the cabinet, however.
The Kurdish team met with Abadi and Parliament Speaker Salim Jbouri on Saturday following meetings with the Shia-led National Alliance and President Fouad Massoum on Friday. All of the consultations have been positive, Balatayi said.
“We showed that we aren’t in a hurry to form the new government; we are more in a hurry to have our conditions met,” said Zana Rustay, another Kurdish negotiator.
Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani warned Iraqi parties not to set conditions for participating in the government on Friday. He said the cabinet should include leaders who represent all citizens and warned that "demands and conditions could derail the forming of the new government."
The Kurdish negotiators are expected to meet with the National Alliance again on Sunday.