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Baghdad Ignores Irbil Initiative, PMF Rejects it

Baghdad Ignores Irbil Initiative, PMF Rejects it

Thursday, 26 October, 2017 - 07:30
Kurdish people celebrate to show their support for the independence referendum in Erbil, Iraq September 8, 2017. REUTERS/Azad Lashkari

The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) offered to freeze the results of the Kurdish independence referendum to give open dialogue a chance with Baghdad. However, authorities in Baghdad ignored the offer and didn't issue any official response and Shiite forces rejected it.

The Kurdish government issued a statement on Wednesday stating that it does not want war and bloodshed to continue between Kurdish and Iraqi forces. They have therefore offered to “freeze the outcome of the referendum that was held in Iraqi Kurdistan.”

It also said that they will immediately announce a ceasefire and stop every military operation in the Kurdistan Region.

"We offer to begin an open dialogue between the Kurdistan Regional Government and the federal government on the basis of the Iraqi constitution," KRG's statement said.

Iraqi Army spokesperson stated that military operations are not linked to politics, hinting that the campaign in disputed areas to retrieve it from Kurds will continue.

Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has said the referendum was illegal and had previously demanded that the result be annulled, amid support from Shiite MPs.

Observers expect Abadi to maintain his demands to annul the referendum and its results and not just freeze it. Abadi didn't refer to the Kurdish initiative during his visit to Turkey when he stated that Baghdad will maintain the federal authority, adding: “it is my duty to preserve Iraq’s unity, sovereignty, and protect its wealth.”

MP of Dawa Party Jassim Mohammed Jaafar stated that the PM had previously rejected freezing the referendum and demanded its annulment. He told Asharq Al-Awsat that freezing is an implicit recognition of the referendum.

“Freezing the referendum is a wordplay and scheme from the Kurdish government and its President. They should admit to their losses and announce annulment of the referendum and its results,” he added.

The Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) said on Wednesday that the initiative of the Kurdistan government to “freeze” the results of the referendum on the independence of the region “has no value,” stressing that the central government should “annul” the results of this vote.

“The initiative is worthless because the freeze means recognizing the referendum, and the government's request is clear, to cancel the referendum,” PMF spokesman Ahmed al-Asadi told AFP.

Sadeqoon movement, affiliated with League of Righteous People, rejected the “separatist project” led by Kurdish President Barzani.

The movement’s spokesperson Laith al-Azari announced rejection of attempts to pass a plot to divide the country and grant the secessionist project led by Barzani a chance.

Azari added that freezing the referendum is an admission to violating the law and Iraqi constitution.

Shiite political forces are adamant to gain as much as possible of concessions and gains from Kurdistan while it is “weak and within its current crisis”.

Observers believe Shiite forces are trying to amend former comprises given to Kurdistan that harmed Iraq including Article 140 of the Constitution the deals with Kirkuk and disputed areas.

In addition, parliamentary bloc al-Fadila asked Kurdistan to handover all Peshmerga members who apprehended members of the Federal Forces during Makhmour operations.

Head of the bloc, Ammar Taame called for the arrest of the “criminal group” of Peshmerga forces that committed the crime and killed a number of soldiers. He warned Kurdish political leadership of the consequences of such actions.

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