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Iraqi President Sponsors Direct Dialogue between Baghdad, Erbil

Iraqi President Sponsors Direct Dialogue between Baghdad, Erbil

Friday, 22 December, 2017 - 08:30
Iraqi President Fuad Masum in Baghdad, Iraq, January 2, 2017. File Photo: REUTERS/Christophe Ena/Pool/Files

Dialogue between Iraq and Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) will be held early next year and sponsored by a UN third-party, according to MP Majid Shankali of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP).

MP Shankali stressed that the Iraqi President Fuad Masum is exerting all efforts to find a way out of the current crisis between Baghdad and Erbil, especially after Kurdistan government announced it respected the Iraqi constitution.

Kurdistan Region Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani stressed KRG’s commitment to negotiations with Baghdad within the framework of the constitution.

Speaking during an interview on Thursday, Barzani indicated: "We stressed that the Kurdistan Region wants its problems with Baghdad to be resolved within the framework of the Iraqi constitution."

The PM stated that the dialogue is supported internationally especially Germany and France who were in contact with each other, which he visited recently. "Chancellor Merkel stressed that they want to jointly support talks and to resolve Erbil-Baghdad issues," added Barzani.

MP Shankali told Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper that the dialogue will begin at the beginning of next year and under the auspices of an international representative of the United Nations, given that both parties have lost confidence in one another.

He pointed out: "It is urgent for a binding dialogue between Iraq and Kurdistan sponsored by a third party in order to establish all things clearly and explicitly to prevent the repetition of previous crises, especially since the two parties have already signed more than one agreement, but haven't committed to any."

Shankali explained that it is obvious Prime Minister Haider Abadi is under international pressure, especially by the United States, as well as Germany and France, so it is now up to him if he wants be prime minister of all Iraq.

When asked what is required of Abadi, Shankali said that the government should pay the salaries of Kurdistan to avoid escalating the crisis in the region and reaching other areas.

Abadi earlier indicated that officials are auditing the salaries of the region's employees to ensure there aren't any fake ones, however, Shankali believes this is an excuse because no official delegation arrived at Erbil.

Sherwan al-Waeli, presidential adviser for security policy, told Asharq Al-Awsat that the president's request for dialogue is based on his constitutional responsibilities and his keenness on the importance of stabilizing the situation all over Iraq. He added that the President held several meetings and dialogues over the past period with all parties for in order to conduct a productive dialogue.

Waeli added that the President proposed the formation of a quadripartite committee for dialogue, which will be sponsored by the Presidency, the Prime Minister, the Speaker, and government of the Kurdistan, in order to determine how the talks will be conducted and what issues to discuss.

"The current situation in Kurdistan can't afford any delay, and things must be resolved in accordance with the constitution, which everyone announced their committment to," he concluded.

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