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



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