Barzani Cautiously Optimistic on Future of Ties with Baghdad
Head of the Kurdistan Democratic Party Masoud Barzani has expressed cautious optimism towards the progress in ties between the Kurdistan region and federal authorities in Baghdad.
During a news conference in Erbil on Wednesday, Barzani pinned hopes on the government of Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi and the possibility of reaching permanent solutions to controversial issues.
It is unlikely that Abdul Mahdi would take decisions similar to those made by his predecessors regarding Kurdistan, Barzani added.
If anything similar happens, then the whole case is closed, he continued.
Concerning the disputed regions between Erbil and Baghdad, Barzani said that this has to be resolved through the implementation of Article 140 of the Constitution.
Barzani, who visited Baghdad last week, noted that he is considering the demand of some Iraqi parties that he launches an initiative to achieve national peace.
He stressed that he first wants assurances that the initiative will reach the anticipated results.
Speaking about the possibility of ISIS emerging back in Iraq, Barzani said the terrorist group “is not defeated and will not be rooted out easily,” adding that the fight has become more challenging after the group’s militants went into hiding.
“Back then, ISIS was on the ground, now, it is underground,” said Barzani. “ISIS has returned to a lot of the areas” that it used to occupy.
He gave the provinces of Nineveh, Diyala, and Salahuddin as examples, where attacks by the group continue.
Former Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared final victory over ISIS in December last year but the group still operates from pockets along the border with Syria and has continued to carry out ambushes and bombings across Iraq.