Iraqi Vice President Ayad Allawi [L] and Kurdish President Masud Barzani meet on September 12, 2017 in Erbil. File photo: KRP
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Iraq’s Vice President Ayad Allawi says that he has received a message from Kurdistan Region President Masoud Barzani on his initiative for talks and the prevention of further tensions as a result of Monday's independence referendum.
In the letter that has been published on Allawi's official website Barzani reiterates the need for talks and the prevention of any groups of parties from escalating the situation. He adds that as has been clarified from day one the referendum does not mean the declaration of independence overnight or the imposition of a status quo on anyone. But that the Kurdistan Region is ready for talks and negotiations on all outstanding issues with Iraq as two brother nations.
“We reaffirmed both before the referendum and the day after holding it, that the referendum does not mean declaring independence straight away, but that we are prepared to wait for two years during which we can communicate through an extended constructive dialogue to discuss all issues and topics that can make us two partners in building a future for our two nations, without imposing de facto on any area.”
"We see in your initiative positive elements especially for preventing any escalation or the parliament taking punitive action," says Barzani's letter as published by Allawi. "We are open to your initiative and ready for cooperation."
"Your call for talks as a means to solve the issues and avoiding the language of threats and force is what we have called for since the start of the crisis and what pushed us towards a referendum for to decide our fate," the letter goes on to say, adding that no effort must be spared for understanding and logic.
VP Allawi held a press conference on Monday as he revealed his initiative.
He called on President Barzani and the Kurdish leadership to “freeze the results of the referendum for a transitional period,” during which talks will be held to preserve “the Kurdish and Arab brotherhood, and leads to achieve a united democratic, federal Iraq.”
Iraq has since issued a series of measures against the Kurdish referendum, including a flight ban on international trips to and from Kurdistan's airports that will take effect later in the day, to deploy Iraqi security forces to the disputed or Kurdistani areas claimed by Baghdad but are under control the Peshmerga forces, and a pre-condition that Erbil must annul the results of the referendum before any talks held.