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Kurdistan PM Nechirvan Barzani extends olive branch to central government of Iraq

- Nechirvan Barzani Erbil Iraq Nov 2017 - Kurdistan PM Nechirvan Barzani extends olive branch to central government of Iraq


nsnbc : Nechirvan Barzani, Prime Minister of Iraq’s Kurdistan Autonomous Region (KAR) at a press conference in Erbil on Monday, said the Kurdish government and political parties are ready to fully engage in negotiations with Baghdad in order to resolve all disputes through understanding and based on the constitution. He added that the military is not the right approach to solving any issue.

Addressing reporters, PM Nechirvan Barzani said “The KRG is ready for talks that would achieve the best interests of Iraq and Kurdistan Region. … They need serious political talk. … The last fourteen years have been a good lesson that we can’t resolve differences by the mindset of who is strong and who is not.” He added that Erbil may have a different view of the Iraqi constitution “but we can still solve all issues through dialogue.”

Barzani described recent military confrontations between the Peshmerga and Iraqi forces including Iranian-backed Hashd al-Shaabi as unfortunate, adding that “there was no need for the deployment of the army and Hashd al-Shaabi. … We ask for a complete and inclusive ceasefire and urge Baghdad for talks.”

Barzani maintained that there were talks between Kurdish and Iraqi military officials, “but to this point there is no agreement between them and nothing has been signed,” he said, stressing that “the solution does not lie in the military but in serious political negotiations.” He said “We are even ready to talk to Iraqi political parties who genuinely want to understand the situation and find a solution for it. … The talks do not necessarily have to be only with the government.”

Responding to a question from a reporter about Kurdistan Region’s oil revenues since the October events and loss of Kirkuk, Barzani said, “More than half of Kurdistan Region’s oil has been reduced and that certainly affects our revenues. What’s important to us, and all our efforts now are to reach a deal with Baghdad.” “We say this now and we have said it before, if Baghdad is willing to fully pay the 17 percent share of our budget we are ready to hand over to them the oil dossier.”

“There has not been a census in Iraq and until that happens things should remain as they are agreed on in the constitution. The Iraqi constitution gives the Kurdistan Region 17 percent of the budget,” he said, adding that Kurdish political parties are united in their belief in negotiations with Baghdad and they pursue that through the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG).

“Can Iraq’s issues be resolved with force?” Barzani said all Iraqi and Kurdish leaders should ask themselves. “No, Iraq’s history shows us that that is not the case. … Baghdad and Erbil issues can be solved through straightforward negotiations and with an open mind and not a mentality of who is victorious and who is not; … If we really want peace and stability and for all groups to live in geography called Iraq, serious talks must then be held far from who has lost and who has won,” PM Barzani said. “With this mindset we can expect a bright future for all Iraqis.”

Barzani urged Baghdad to be genuine in its statements and not resort to political games of “saying they will pay KRG employees’ salaries but not doing so”, reminding all sides that a policy of starvation will not serve anyone including Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi.

CH/L – nsnbc 06.11.2017

NSNBC

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Social media crackdown on citizens, lawmakers follows Turkey’s attacks on Afrin

- AfrinReu - Social media crackdown on citizens, lawmakers follows Turkey’s attacks on Afrin


ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – Turkish authorities launched investigations on Monday against scores of people—among them journalists, writers, and lawmakers—and arrested dozens of others over their criticism on social media of Ankara’s invasion of the Kurdish region of Afrin in northwestern Syria.

The chief public prosecutor’s office in Istanbul announced probes targeting 57 individuals for the crimes of “propaganda in support of a terror group, inciting public hostility, insulting the President, and sharing content that contravenes realities.”

Over the weekend, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke harshly of those daring to protest his army’s aerial and ground attacks on the isolated Kurdish enclave where Turkish airstrikes have killed dozens, among them civilians and fighters of the US-backed People’s Protection Units (YPG).

He vowed to “pulverize” them, directing his words also at the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), an opposition bloc already bracing an ongoing crackdown since late 2016 that saw its Co-leader Selahattin Demirtas, nine lawmakers, 80 mayors, and thousands of members imprisoned.

In the Kurdish province of Mardin, Diyarbakir, and Mus, police arrested at least 30 people.

Journalist Nurcan Baysal and local co-head of HDP’s branch in Diyarbakir’s Bismil district Refai Baran were detained in midnight raids for their tweets and Facebook posts in support of the people of Afrin.

Three other journalists and authors, Ishak Karakas, Aziz Tunc, and Ismail Eskin, were also taken into custody by Istanbul police.

According to the Turkish Journalists’ Association, prisons across Turkey are home to over 160 reporters, photographers, writers, and other media workers.

Elsewhere, in Van, on the border with Iranian Kurdistan, the public prosecutor began probes against four HDP lawmakers representing the province at the Turkish Parliament.

In Dersim, MP Ali Oncel was the target of another Ankara-appointed prosecutor.

HDP Spokesperson Ayhan Bilgen and Hakkari MP Nadir Yildirim were already under investigations for their tweets regarding the Afrin offensive.

Editing by Karzan Sulaivany



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Members of European Parliament condemn Turkish attack on Afrin

- EUparl - Members of European Parliament condemn Turkish attack on Afrin


ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – Members of the European Parliament on Monday condemned Turkey’s ongoing military operation against Kurds in the northwestern Syrian city of Afrin.

Cypriot MEP Takis Hadjigeorgiou, who is also the Vice-Chair of the European Parliament’s delegation to Turkey, “strongly condemned the Turkish invasion” by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Syrian Kurdistan (Rojava).

“We stand with all the peacekeeping forces that call for an immediate end to the invasion and the withdrawal of Turkish troops,” Hadjigeorgiou continued.

“We express our solidarity with the Syrian people and the Kurds in both Syria and Turkey who are constantly threatened by the Turkish government,” he added.

German MEP Martina Michels also criticized the military operation in Afrin, stressing that “it is unacceptable that the Turkish army has been attacking Kurdish villages.”

“[The campaign in Afrin] goes to the heart of Erdogan’s long-held dream of destroying Kurdish self-determination—not just within Turkey, but in Iraq and Syria as well,” she said.

Meanwhile, French MEP Marie-Christine Vergiat called on the international community to “act quickly by taking a stand against these operations and by bolstering our support to the inhabitants of Afrin.”

During a meeting with European foreign ministers in Brussels on Monday, Federica Mogherini, the High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs, said she was “extremely worried” about the ongoing Turkish attacks against Syrian Kurds in Afrin.

Mogherini also noted that the violence might undermine the peace talks on Syria in Geneva, and severely affect the humanitarian situation on the ground.



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KRG PM to meet Abadi for second time this week

- AbadiKRG - KRG PM to meet Abadi for second time this week


ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Prime Minister announced he would be meeting with his Iraqi counterpart at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland on Tuesday.

During a press conference following a Council of Ministers meeting in Erbil on Monday, KRG Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani said he had a “productive meeting” with Iraqi PM Haider al-Abadi in Baghdad on Sunday and is scheduled to meet him again in Davos.

Prime Minister Barzani and an accompanying KRG delegation met with Abadi in Baghdad for the first time since the Kurdistan Region’s Sep. 25 independence referendum.

Barzani said he had discussed the salaries of public employees, oil, airports, and border crossings with Abadi, adding the KRG “will be in communication with the Baghdad-appointed committees sent to the Kurdistan Region to resolve all the outstanding issues.”

Barzani, who will attend the World Economic Forum, revealed that he would sit with the Iraqi PM and Minister of Oil once again, noting that the meetings between the KRG and the Iraqi government would continue in the future.

Regarding the end of an international flight ban on the Kurdistan Region’s airports, the KRG Prime Minister admitted it was still unclear when Baghdad would lift the ban, but said the relevant committees had been working to resolve the issues.

Barzani also explained that the KRG delegation’s visits to Tehran and Baghdad “did not result in any agreements as we worked on restoring the two sides’ relations with the Kurdistan Region.”

Editing by Karzan Sulaivany



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