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Iraqi official: Erbil-Baghdad referendum talks collapse

By Rudaw 8/9/2017
A Kurdish man decorates a car with the Kurdish flags ahead of the upcoming independence referendum in Erbil on September 7, 2017. Photo: AFP / Safin Hamed
A Kurdish man decorates a car with the Kurdish flags ahead of the upcoming independence referendum in Erbil on September 7, 2017. Photo: AFP / Safin Hamed
BAGHDAD, Iraq – A senior member of the ruling Shiite National Alliance has said that they have no plans to visit Erbil to conduct the second round of talks initiated between Erbil and Baghdad on their outstanding issues, citing what he called “fiery remarks” against Baghdad by Kurdish President Masoud Barzani.
Abdullah Zaidi, from the Alliance and also in charge of its Kurdistani relations, told Rudaw on Thursday that the recent remarks made by President Masoud Barzani has created an environment that made it difficult for them to visit Erbil as planned.
However, he said that if the Kurdistan Region is serious in resuming the talks, they welcome a Kurdish delegation to visit Baghdad.
In mid-August, a senior Kurdish delegation visiting Baghdad held week-long talks with Iraqi and foreign officials, including with the Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi. The visiting delegation and the Shiite Alliance, which also includes Abadi’s Dawa party, announced at the time the talks would resume in two weeks either in Erbil or Baghdad.
The two sides’ talks center on the Kurdistan Region’s independence referendum, scheduled for September 25.
Baghdad considers the vote unilateral and unconstitutional, while Erbil accuses the Iraqi government of having violated at least 55 articles of the Iraqi constitution, including Article 140 that concerns areas Erbil calls Kurdistani including the multi-ethnic and oil rich Kirkuk but whose status is disputed and therefore claimed by the two sides.
The Kurdish-led Provincial Government in Kirkuk voted last month to take part in the referendum, as did many other Kurdish majority areas such as Khanaqin.
President Masoud Barzani has been holding civic gatherings in Erbil with various groups ahead of the vote.
He has said time and again that the partnership between Erbil and Baghdad that was hoped for since the US-invasion of Iraq in 2003 has failed, and that the current Iraqi government is no different from the former regime of Iraq who launched a genocidal campaign against the Kurds killing tens of thousands of people.
Barzani has maintained that last month’s talks are not aimed to negotiate whether the referendum is held or not. He said the task of the delegation was to discuss with Iraqi officials and others how the two sides can become two “good neighbors.”
The United States, among other nations, have expressed their opposition to the timing of the referendum, and instead have pushed for negotiations between Erbil and Baghdad with the mission to find a negotiated settlement for their outstanding issues.
Officials in the Kurdish government have said there is no room left for doubt that the vote will be held on September 25. Official campaigning for and against the vote has already begun and will continue through September 22.


The Observer | 8/9/2017
The Kurds are massively and firmly behind their leaders in this final battle for independence .The free world should come to support the Kurds against their enemies .
FAUthman | 8/9/2017
Talks will resume after the referendum. There is no need for the talks to continue now before the referendum results are out. Talks should stop now, both sides should examine the referendum results and then wait for the new parliament in Kurdistan to convene and the new president and prime minister to take charge to resume the initiatives for talks with Baghdad. As soon as that is in place it would be time for Iraqi parliamentary elections and for a new prime minister in Baghdad to assume his duties. All that may take about a year and that is when talks on independence may resume. As many of your readers (I included) have said: this is a process and you don't just stand in the middle of Erbil the day after the referendum and declare independence unless you would wish to do that unilaterally assuming you have the legal authority to do that, without parliament you do not!
guest worker | 9/9/2017
F@#& Baghdad, through out history they've broken every agreement every deal every law with us, even the constitution they themselves have drawn up. They with held arms and ammunition when ISIS attacked our towns amd cities! what else is there to discuss?
Jagerxin derashy | 9/9/2017
We won't come to bagdad and you not welcome in Kurdistan there is nothing to talk abut we'll have referendum and and respect the results of the referendum will our blood? Do what what ever you want to do there is nothing you can do to the Kurds that you haven't already done to them!?? So bring it on we used to it
Adam | 11/9/2017
The Arabs never learn democracy and this is another example.
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