EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini addresses a press conference in Brussels on November 15, 2017. Photo: AFP/ Emmanuel Dunand
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – The EU Chief Diplomat Federica Mogherini has said that they support talks between the Kurdistan Region and Iraq to address their disputes, and that the European Union is closely watching the events on the ground.
Kurdistan Region Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani received a letter from Mogherini on Thursday in which the EU official said that the “stability and unity” of both Iraq and the Kurdistan region are important to the European Union.
The letter, delivered to Barzani by the head of the EU Liaison Office in Erbil Clarisse Pasztory, comes after the EU welcomed a statement from the KRG respecting a ruling by Iraq's Federal Court prohibiting any part of the country from leaving Iraq.
KRG Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani [R] hosts head of the EU Liaison Office in Erbil Clarisse Pasztory on November 16, 2017. Photo: KRG
First, Mogherini expressed her condolences to the victims of the Sunday earthquake that hit the Kurdistan Region, as well as other areas along the Kurdish-Iranian border, including Halabja and Darbandikhan.
The KRG earlier had stated that the EU will pay for repairing the damages to Darbandikhan dam.
It said that the EU has been following the tensions between Erbil and Baghdad which followed the September 25 Kurdish referendum on independence, including military confrontations between the two sides in the disputed or Kurdistani areas such as oil-rich Kirkuk.
“We have watched the events on the ground closely with concern, and our priority for the past weeks has been to prevent violence from any side,” the letter by Mogherini read, according to a statement from the KRG.
“We also supported the efforts made to solve the problems, like the security procedures in the disputed areas. The European Union will continue to watch the situation and provide humanitarian aid,” the letter continued.
Mogherini said that the EU supports dialogue between Erbil and Baghdad, and if asked, the European bloc, alongside other international actors, is ready to facilitate such talks.
“Not only the unity and stability of Iraq is important for the European Union, but also the unity and stability of the Kurdistan Region, and its governmental institutions,” Mogherini added.
The KRG has said they are prepared to enter open dialogue with the Iraqi government within the framework of the Iraqi constitution. It has since offered to freeze the outcome of the Kurdish vote, and said that it respects a ruling by the Iraqi Federal Court that concluded that no component in Iraq is allowed to leave Iraq.
Baghdad is yet to commit to dialogue with Erbil despite growing calls by international actors, like the United Kingdom and Germany, urging the government of the Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to do so.
Iraq says it wants to control the Kurdish international borders with the outside world including the airports of Sulaimani and Erbil.
An Iraqi-imposed ban on international flights to and from the Kurdistan Region remains in place.