In a new sign of ease of the Baghdad-Irbil crisis sparked by the referendum on independence held by the Kurdistan Region last September 25, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi received on Saturday KRG Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani and an accompanying delegation.
A statement issued by the Iraqi Prime Minister’s office said on Saturday that both sides discussed the latest political and security developments, in addition to solving problems between the Federal Government of Iraq and the Kurdistan Region in accordance with the constitution.
During the meeting with the KRG Prime Minister, Abadi stressed on the “unity and sovereignty of Iraq”, adding that the people of Kurdistan are part of the Iraqi people.
The Iraqi prime minister said it was important that all procedures be taken to allow the “return” of Federal Authority to the airports of Irbil and Sulaimani.
The statement said that following complete control by the Iraqi government, the Kurdistan Region’s airports would be reopened, adding that the control of border crossings should be “exclusively in the power of federal authority.”
For his part, Iraqi government spokesman Saad Hadithi told Asharq Al-Awsat that Saturday’s meeting between Abadi and Barzani “emphasizes the desire to overpass the referendum phase, to reach a new upcoming stage based on the principle of the state sovereignty in respect of the current Iraqi Constitution, and to discuss disputed issues according to the constitution’s foundations.”
He said that all the above issues were discussed during the meeting, which he said was held in a “positive atmosphere.”
Later on Saturday evening, Barzani arrived in Tehran.
The Iranian consulate in Erbil said that the visit by the delegation is positive and important, as it is the first by the KRG PM since Iraq opposed the referendum and following the decision by a federal court labeling the Kurdistan Region's vote as "unconstitutional."